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RFID-based Hospital Real-time Patient Management System
Belal Chowdhury
School of Business, La Trobe University Melbourne, Victoria 3086, Australia
 Email: mbchowdhury@students.latrobe.edu.au
Rajiv Khosla
School of Business, La Trobe University Melbourne, Victoria 3086, Australia Email: r.khosla@latrobe.edu.au
 In a health care context, the use RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology can be employed  for not only bringing down health care costs but also facilitate automating and streamlining patient identification processes in hospitals and use of mobiledevices like PDA, smart phones, for design a healthcare management systems. In this paper, we outline a RFID model for designing a system in the health care. An application of the architecture is described in thearea of RFID-based Real-time Hospital Patient  Management System (HPMS).
1. Introduction
Recent years, in almost every country in the world,substantial financial resources have been allocated tothe health care sector. Technological development andmodern medicine practices are amongst theoutstanding factors triggering this shift. Developedcountries like Australia are currently facing a middle-and older-aged marketplace from a predominantlyyouth-driven marketplace. This trend is resulting in agreater demand for health care-related services andgreater competition among health care providers [1].Achieving a high operational efficiency in thehealth care sector is an essential goal for organizational performance evaluation. Efficiency uses to beconsidered as the primary indicator of hospital performance [2]. From a managerial perspective,understanding the hospitals cost structure and their inefficiency in utilizing resources is crucial for makinghealth care policies and budgeting decisions. The costof medical services in hospitals is likely control byhigher operational efficiency and to provide moreaffordable care and improved access to the public [3].In the last few years’ health care providers aremaking a concerted effort in using informationtechnology for bringing down the spiraling health carecost in Australia and in the western world. In order to bring down the cost and improve efficiency, intelligentsystems can play a significant role in providingintelligently processed and personalized informationabout patients to doctors, their health care staff (i.e.,nurses) and health care administrators.The performance of health care managementsystem is far behind compared to the service andmanufacturingindustries. Health care organizations nowadays aredealing with greater rank diseases, their cost, qualityand delivery has essentially not improved significantly,and even the difference with the other industries seemsto have increased [1] further.There is growing concern about maintaining one'shealth as population ages, mobile/sensor technologyare expected to provide real-time information aboutvital signs and other physiological indicators of one’shealth and fitness. Such monitoring systems areexpected to find greater use in such applications ashospitals, home health monitoring, physician’s offices,elderly care facilities, fitness centers, and healthresearch studies [12].In a health care context, we might consider theInternet to deliver services in remote areas. Mobilecommerce can also be used to automate the delivery of life saving drugs and, simultaneously, to alertemergency personnel that there might be a health problem developing [13]. So far, the Internet makes anentire range of new technologies available to hospitalsto facilitate communications and build relationships[14].The application of these principles can befacilitated by the use of the mobile technology such asRadio Frequency Identification (RFID). Today'sadvanced technology is capable of uniting smart tags(RFID) and data processing into a single integratedsystem [2]. RFID is a killer technology that elegantly provides a solution to wide range of business needs [4]including healthcare sector. It is also observed that amedical application such as RFID-based Real-timeHospital Patient Management System (HPMS) offers
the tremendous benefits of healthcare managementsystems.This paper is structured as follows: Section 2outlines the RFID model used for developing a healthcare system. Section 3 illustrates the benefits of adopting RFID in health care system. Section 4outlines the six layers of the health care systemsarchitecture. Section 5 illustrates the application of thehealth care systems architecture using a RFID-basedHPM. Section 6 illustrates the implementation of HPMS application. Section 7 concludes the paper.
2. RFID Model for Healthcare Systems
Healthcare providers (i.e., hospitals) traditionallyuse a paper-based ‘flow chart’ to capture patientinformation during registration time, which is updated by the on duty nurse and handed over to the incomingstaff at the end of each shift. Although, the nursesspent large amount of time on updating the paperwork at the bedside of the patient, it is not always accurate, because this is handwritten.The nurses play a vital role at the Hospital systemin the success of both inpatient and outpatient care.
They also play a very important role in bridging toexecute clinical orders or to communicate information between the hospital and the patient that motivates toevaluate the potential of RFID (Radio FrequencyIdentification) technology, and to reinforce the critical job of information handover.RFID is one of the emerging technologies offeringa solution, which can facilitate automating andstreamlining safe and accurate patient identification,tracking, and processing important health relatedinformation in health care sector such as hospitals [6].Each RFID tag/wristband is identified by a UniqueIdentification Number (UIN) that can be programmedeither automatically or manually and then password protected to ensure high security.RFID wristband can be issued to every patient atregistration, and then it can be used to identify patientsduring the entire hospitalization period. It can also beused to store patient important data (such as name, patient ID, drug allergies, drugs that the patient is ontoday, blood group, and so on) in order to dynamicallyinform staff before critical. RFID encoded wristbanddata can be read through bed linens, while patients aresleeping without disturbing them [7].RFID technology provides a method to transmitand receive data from a patient to health service provider/medical professionals without humanintervention (i.e., wireless communication). It is anautomated data-capture technology that can be used toidentify, track, and store patient informationelectronically contained on RFID wristband (i.e., smarttag). Although, medical professionals/consultants canaccess/update patient’s record remotely via WiFiconnection using mobile devices such as PDA(Personal Digital Assistant), laptops and other mobiledevices. WiFi (wireless fidelity’), a wireless local areanetworks (WLAN) that allows healthcare provider (e.g., hospitals) to deploy a network more quickly, atlower cost, and with greater flexibility than a wiredsystem [5].RFID technology mainly consists of a Transponder (smart tag), a Reader and Healthcare Provider ITSystems (HPITS) as shown in Figure 1. Each tagattached to the patient wristband contains an antennaand a tiny microchip smaller than a grain of sand.
Figure 1: Main components of RFID-based patient management system
The antenna picks up radio-waves or electromagneticenergy beamed at it from a reader device and enablesthe chip to transmit patients unique ID to the reader device, allowing the patient to be remotely identified.The reader converts the radio waves reflected back from the patient wristband into digital information thatcan then be passed onto HPITS for processing.Patient’s basic important data (e.g., patient ID,name, age, location, drug allergies, blood group, drugsthat the patient is on today) can be stored in the patient’s back-end databases for processing. Patientdatabases can also be linked through Internet into other hospitals databases [15].
3. Benefits of adopting RFID-basedHealthcare System
Potential benefits such as improve patients safety,eliminates paper-based document (e.g., bed side card),cost savings, increases efficiency and productivity, prevent/reduce medical errors, reduce patient waitingtime, and so on, of using RFID technology withinhealth care sector (e.g., hospitals) is numerous asshown in the Figure 2.
Figure 2: Benefits of using RFID in healthcare sector
4. Multi-layer Architecture for HealthcareSystems
Figure 3 shows the multi-layered (i.e., six layer)RFID-based healthcare systems architecture, namely, physical layer, middleware layer, process layer, dataaccess layer, application layer and user interface layer.The physical layer consists of the actual hardwarecomponents that include RFID tag, antennas andreaders.RFID Middleware is the interface between theRFID reader and healthcare providers (i.e., hospitals)databases and patient management system. It is animportant element of RFID systems in healthcaresector. RFID middleware layer enableshealthcare providers (e.g., hospitals) a quick connectivity withreaders, lower the volume of information that medicalapplications need to process by grouping and filteringraw RFID observationsfrom readers, and provideapplication-level interface for managing readers and process large volumes of RFID data for their medical applications. This layer is also monitoring physicallayer components and supports InternationalOrganization for Standardization (ISO) standard [8].The Process Layer 
drives hospitals to deploy RFID- based healthcare system (business) processes that
MedicalProfessionals(Doctors, Nurses)
Prevent/ReduceMedical ErrorsCostSavingsEliminatePaper-basedDocumentReduce PatientWaiting TimeIncreasesEfficiency & ProductivitHealthcareServiceProvider(Hospitals)ImprovePatientSafetyNon-medicalProfessionals(Admin)

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