Guest Column | November 25, 2008

Validating RFID In A Clinical Environment: Part 1

By John Shoemaker and Scott Cobb, Shipcom Wireless

The project is not about a technology looking for a problem to solve, but rather involves the thorough evaluation of clinical challenges, allowing for solutions based on specific requirements and matching an array of technologies that can deliver high value. Once the initial study is completed, Shipcom, in collaboration with Keesler's project team, will recommend four specific applications to be approved by Keesler's executive committee. The goal is to select applications that provide the maximum evaluation across the enterprise. The potential application areas include asset management, patient tracking, clinician tracking, medications assistance, blood center management, specimen collection, and others.

With valid data, analysis, and input from key stakeholders, the Shipcom team will develop well-defined and documented business cases. Each application will have its own business case, which will include current metrics, proposed process changes, technology selection based on each use case, and anticipated benefits with ROI. With a leveraged implementation, each application will also have significant ROI improvements when previous applications are considered.

Implementing new technology always creates the need for process changes. Process reengineering is critical to the success of RFID in the clinical environment — it directly affects day-to-day operations and workflow. During the analyze/improve phases of the Keesler project, the team will also hold planning and work sessions, which empower people closest to the activity to effect the process change. The goal is to minimize process change while allowing maximum benefits from technology adoption. Our belief is that multiple technologies will be used across the enterprise, including active/passive RFID and bar codes.