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Source: http://www.supplyinsight.com/RFID_in_Healthcare.htm

The use of the newest technology in businesses has drastically revolutionized company efficiency and priority. Technology has changed the ethics of business in order to create a more consumer-based environment. A supermarket employee no longer has to manually process the prices of goods at a checkout station. The tedious process was transformed in 1952 with the invention of the barcode. Ever since, simple tasks such as checking out at a supermarket or taking inventory at a packaging plant have been made much easier. However, technology used in the businesses is constantly expanding and new ideas are being developed due to the constant demand for an easier lifestyle (in terms of both consumer and employee). Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is one of the newest waves of technology to hit the business world. RFID plans to utterly revolutionize the world of business and efficiency, as it is known today.

Compared to a barcode reader, an RFID system does not require a certain line-of-sight reading. The radio frequency portion of the technology allows signals to be transmitted from, for example, an item at a supermarket to the antenna or the RFID reader. There is a much broader range and accuracy with RFID readers than the barcode systems seen today. RFID consists of a radio frequency (RF) portion to send radio signals, a transceiver to read these signals while transferring the data, a processing device to process this data, and a transponder tag in which the information is transmitted. The transponder tags that hold the data have two principal categories. Passive tags use the radio frequency transported from the reader to transmit its signal. Active tags, on the contrary, use a battery that is built into the tag in order to power the systems, Active tags have a much wider range than passive tags. The power of the battery also allows the random access memory to be facilitated giving it a much greater storage space for data. Today, RFID technology is serving many different purposes. They are being used in retail facilities to offer more efficient inventory tracking, allowing companies to be in more control of information at all times. In an attempt to control the passing of rabies through animals, the Portuguese government has ordered that all dogs have small RFID tags injected under their skin by the end of 2007. These tags can be scanned and provide information such as the dog’s history. Also, RFID tags are now being used in several locations to monitor traffic through small chips within E-Pass and other similar systems.

One of the rising uses of RFID technology next to its presence in the retail industry is within the medical setting. Hospitals all over the world are beginning to integrate RFID systems into routines for the purpose of tracking patients as well as doctors and other health practitioners at all times in case of emergency. Also, RFID can be used to track the location of essential equipment. Plans for the future are to be able to restrict drug access as well as other confidential areas including personal patient information. An article written by Tony Eardley and John Farenden entitled RFID in Healthcare outlines interesting arguments focusing on the query that this new technology is really addressing a “clear business and/ or clinical need.”

Here is a link to the article.

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