RFID saves lives - as well as money
David Morgan, an ENT surgeon in the UK, has recently employed RFID in two operating theatres to increase patient safety and to avoid the possibility of patient mismatches - where the patient either gets the wrong drugs or the wrong operation. This scheme has proved to be very successful and it also highlights another aspect of RFID in healthcare - privacy concerns become almost non-existent when personal health and safety is involved.
As David Morgan said to IDTechEx: 'We asked one hundred patients if they had any concerns about the introduction of RFID technology and not one of them had an objection.'
Along with Chris Ranger of the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), he will be demonstrating his RFID system at the IDTechEx Smart Labels Europe 2005 www.smartlabelseurope.com conference.
When it has been shown that 19% of all errors in National Health Service (NHS) hospitals in the UK are down to misidentification and that over 11% of errors in the US are down to drug misidentification, then the value of this new scheme can be appreciated immediately.
RFID wages war on counterfeits
Counterfeit drugs can cost lives. Giving the wrong medicine to an already unwell person can have horrendous consequences and experts believe that RFID is an essential element in the fight against counterfeits.
Aegate, who trialled their anti-counterfeit smart label solution, believe that their system which uses RFID and barcodes, both of which are read by the same scanner, will prove a vital resource in stemming the flow of counterfeit drugs.
Only last month a large consignment of the drug Lipitor was found to be counterfeit. This batch was around 120,000 packets and was worth several million dollars. The entire batch had to be recalled for patient safety, a costly exercise that could have been avoided if each individual item could have been individually identified - which is one of the main advantages of RFID smart labels.
The ability of RFID to uniquely identify individual items has many practical applications in all areas of business, not just in healthcare and pharmaceuticals. IKEA and Marks & Spencer have both used this technology in the retail sector. IKEA have run a pilot project testing RFID in a closed-loop system and Marks & Spencer have tagged food at tray-level and clothing at item-level to improve their customer service.
The RFID benefits for customer service are also being trialled by British Airways. They are planning on using the technology to help prevent lost luggage. So far trials have been a success with the number of lost bags dropping to almost zero.
The wide and varied world of RFID smart labels
The cases given above are just a few examples of RFID being implemented to give a definite improvement in the way organisations are being run. To find out more about implementing RFID visit the Smart Labels Europe 2005 conference www.smartlabelseurope.com , where you will see speakers and presentations from all the companies named here and many others who have their own informative stories to tell.
Largest European event
Smart Labels Europe 2005, 20th - 21st September, Cambridge, UK, sponsored by Avery Dennison, is the sixth annual Smart Labels Europe conference hosted by IDTechEx and is the largest European RFID event. It covers adopters' experiences, users' needs, how to manufacture RFID smart labels, emerging technologies and complete RFID systems.
This conference will examine and review the technology, allowing you to understand the requirements of brand owners, retailers, product manufacturers and other vertical sectors looking to adopt RFID.
See www.smartlabelseurope.com for details.