RFID security for hospitals: What are the use cases?
As providers of healthcare, our organizations want to reduce risk as much as possible. Several particular areas of risk are with infection control, physical security, asset management, real-time location services and authentication (tap and go access). We want to streamline our organizations as much as possible and provide the best experience to our patients, families and friends while enabling our care providers to do their jobs without security being in the way.
Many of the current security solutions, while they provide a degree of security, are considered intrusive and there has been a push for contactless security. We also want to reduce the risk of contamination of equipment and make it easier to clean and sterilize it so we can prevent infections. We also need to know where equipment is for better utilization, especially in a fast-paced environment such as a busy practice or hospital. Having a solution that is not line of sight can use radio signals to reduce the need to put sensors in controlled areas, and does not require touch is a net benefit to healthcare organizations.
Radio Frequency Identification, better known as RFID, has been providing these solutions for a number of years. Walmart and the US Department of Defense have been using this technology to track inventory. A number of RFID-based authentication badges and tokens are available already for PCs, and integrate with existing desktop solutions. The MIFARE technology is used for public transportation fare cards across the world. Encryption is supported on RFID and is an ISO standard, ISO 14443-4.
There are several great use cases for this product. The first is for asset management and inventory. Using RFID reduces the time needed to get a proper inventory of tagged devices. This can be expanded to Equipment Tracking, specifically surgical equipment management and tracking. A current use is also for login and authentication, specifically for physical security/door access or computer access. RFID is also used for real-time location services, along with Wi-Fi and other technologies.