Last year Siemens Business Services trialed a patient identification scheme in the Saarbruecken clinic in Germany. During the trial, the company fitted all patients with a bracelet containing an RFID chip, which allowed doctors and nursing staff to identify them and access their medical history in a matter of seconds. The company now plans to extend the trial to the blood bank supplies of around 1,000 patients.
Under the new trial, when the blood bags reach the hospital, they will each be equipped with an RFID chip on which a unique number will have been stored. This number will correspond to an entry in a protected database containing information on the origin, designated purpose and recipient of the blood.
When a nurse fetches a blood bag for a patient, she will use a PDA to read both the chip on the packaging and the data on the patient’s RFID bracelet. Only if the data matches will the blood actually be used for the patient.
The data involved is immediately added to the clinic’s process workflow, updating inventory records and the patient’s medical data.
By demonstrating that its RFID tags have applications beyond warehouses and inventory management, Siemens will be hoping it can now find other lucrative uses for its tagging technology.