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J Med Syst. 2012 Dec;36(6):3851-60. doi: 10.1007/s10916-012-9858-7. Epub 2012 May 5.

Creation of a RFID based real time tracking (R-RTT) system for small healthcare clinics.

Author information

  • 1Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering and Technology, Bradley University, Peoria, IL 61625, USA. jchen@bradley.edu

Abstract

A well-managed healthcare system improves the quality of the patient experience. However, many small healthcare clinics have suboptimal systems for scheduling and locating patients and medical staff, delaying the relay of information and creating poor resource and room utilization. This paper proposes a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)-based Real-Time Tracking (R-RTT) System for optimizing small healthcare facility operations, enabling further optimization of throughput time, room utilization, and patient flow. In the proposed scenario, RFID readers were equipped in strategic locations throughout the facility. Patients and medical staff were issued personalized RFID tags. When they pass through the reader's interrogation zone, it reads their RFID tag and sends the information to a central computer equipped with software capable of filtering the RFID data into useable information. A Visual Basic Application (VBA) program uses the information received from the ID tags to display the location of the patients and staff as they move throughout the facility. This increases their visibility within the facility by allowing medical staff to determine where their colleagues and patients are at all times. The VBA program was also able to record the data in order to track the time each stage of the appointment process takes to complete. The recorded time data can be broken into processes, making it easier to determine if it adds value. This data can then be transformed into a value stream map for further analysis and improvement.

PMID:
22562667
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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