Healthcare sector in the Netherlands start RFID pilot with Capgemini

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On the request of the Ministry of VWS and with support of the Ministry of Economic Affairs as coordinator of the cross-government ICT-Agenda, Capgemini will start a research into the possible applications of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies in the Healthcare sector. Capgemini performs the research together with the Academical Medical Center (AMC) in Amsterdam, Geodan, Intel and Oracle. The project will take one year and consists of inventarisation and standardization services and three RFID pilots. Objective of the research project is to show the added value of RFID applications in the Healthcare sector. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a technology which uses radio waves to exchange data from a distance between an RFID reader and a (moving) object. The use of RFID can improve the safety and logistics within the Healthcare sector.

The importance of the research project for the Dutch healthcare sector is large according to the chairman of the steering committee Robert Stegwee: A number of issues in the healthcare sector is currently high on the political agenda like the aging population, reduction in the number of services delivered by healthcare service organizations, strong increase in healthcare costs and the issues surrounding the patient waiting lists. Technological innovations in the healthcare sector like the adoption of RFID might give part of the answer to these issues.

The first two parts of the project consist of inventarisation and standardization activities. Objective is to identify which pre-conditions need to be satisfied to make a broad use of RFID technologies in the healthcare sector possible. This will give more insight into the potential role that the Ministry of VWS can play in a successful and broad adoption of RFID in the healthcare sector. The inventarisation activities will primarily focus on lessons learned and the structure of an RFID project and will try to answer the question What topics should a healthcare organization consider in applying RFID technology?. The standardization activities will give insight into the developments in the area of technical and functional RFID standards. This will give Dutch healthcare organizations advice in the use of standards when applying RFID technologies.

Added Value
The last part of the project consists of three pilots which need to demonstrate the added value from RFID in the healthcare sector. The first pilot focuses on the identification and localization of patients around the operating room. This pilot must give better insight into the course of the health process around the operating room to enable an efficint logistics flow. One of the potential benefits is also a faster method to identify patient and practician. In combination with the tracking and tracing of operating room materials and blood products (see other pilots below), the registration of used materials, used equipment and blood products administered can run more efficient.

The second pilot focuses on the tracking and tracing of operating room materials like implants and disposables with a high cost price and turnover. Objective is to trace the used materials per patient to enable a more efficient inventory management process. In the long term it will help to realize Activity Based Costing. By applying RFID technology, it will become easier as well to comply with the governmental regulations regarding the tracking and tracing of implants.

The third pilot focuses on the tracking and tracing of blood products with the use of temperature-sensitive RFID-tags. Objective is to comply with new European norms in the area of tracking and tracing and quality of blood bags for transfusion. Another objective is to gain more efficiency by gains from a higher quality and reduction of manual actions like the information calls on the course of the health process.

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