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Glasgow NHS keeps tabs on equipment with RFID

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Author: WildC@rd

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has implemented a wireless networking project in the Royal Alexandra Hospital (RAH) that involves tracking medical equipment with RFID tags. The initial driver of this part of the project is to reduce the amount of time maintenance staff waste in locating portable medical equipment, such as defibrillators, infusion pumps and blood monitors. However, there is expected to be a knock-on effect of medical practitioners also being able to lay their hands on equipment when needed, thereby improving the level of patient care. According to RAH clinical scientist Jason Britton, the hospital loses between Ј20,000 to Ј40,000 per year in wasted staff time. He told silicon.com: "Devices can get lost in the system for years before they are discovered." The wireless network was installed in May 2007 by Carillion IT Services and tagging started roll out in September last year and is ongoing. So far, seven wards have been provided with active-tagged equipment and readers, with a further 15 to receive the same, plus out-patient facilities. Only 40 tags have so far been delivered to the hospital but Britton estimates around 1,500 tags will eventually be deployed. The initial phase of the project to install a wi-fi network and RFID tags cost up to Ј70,000.
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