Friday, July 21, 2006

Good use of RFID - but is anyone else worried its needed?

I read an article on this earlier in the week, but it was this eweek article that prompted me to point it out:
NEW YORK (Reuters Health)—Radio frequency ID (RFID) chips, similar to those implanted in products to deter theft, may help prevent sponges and other materials from being left in a patient during surgery, the findings from a small study suggest.

The study I read earlier (and now cannot find) was mentioning that this trial was likely to be extended to all the surgical implements used so that they can use an RFID scanning wand to check for implements / sponges after the patient has been closed up.  Certainly in the case of this study:
The wand identified all of the RFID-tagged sponges and never reported the presence of a tagged sponge when, in fact, there wasn't one. On average, it took just 3 seconds for the wand to pick up the presence of an RFID-tagged sponge.

Which is all a great use for a much maligned technology.  But the question you have to ask yourself is: how happy are you that it is needed in the first place?
Still, further research is needed to determine whether placement of these chips in surgical sponges and other operating room materials will be cost effective for a problem that occurs once in every 10,000 procedures.

Due for surgery? Feeling Lucky?
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Mayren said...

Like the blog, love the post. RFID is not something i thought they would use in that way ... scary indeed. keep up the good work

iiq374 said...

Normally what irritates me about press coverage around RFID is the blatant scaremongering and misrepresentation in how it will / can be used.

This is one of the first cases where the use has actually worried me - albeit not because of the RFID application but because they lose enough sponges to make it worthwhile!