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RFID-enabled iPads manage inspection process for radiation aprons

RFID technology continues to find unique use cases in the hospital environment. One of the most recent developments relies on an RFID-enabled iPad to verify the inspection process for radiation apparel like vests and aprons.

After a successful pilot last year at the Bon Secours Health System in Virginia, Burlington Medical Supplies began to embed RFID tags into every radiation apron it ships to hospitals. The manufacturer has shipped 40,000 RFID-enabled aprons since Q4.

RFID-enabled iPads, radiation vests

Burlington Medical Supplies has tagged 40,000 of the radiation aprons it produces at the point of manufacturer.

Burlington approached ODIN RFID in 2011 about developing a solution that would automate the record-keeping process and manage inspection histories for assets like aprons that are required to be inspected each year. Proof of inspection is also required.

ODIN, which was acquired last month by Quake Global, developed a software program called EasyID, which it claims is the first asset inspection solution combining RFID-enabled iPads with a web-based platform for reporting and analytics.

EasyID is the only solution in the M2M healthcare market that identifies assets using RFID and enables the user to add and manage inspection histories for the asset. Data is stored securely on the iPad until a Wifi or 3G/LTE network is available, when the app syncs data with the EasyID web platform.

“ODIN has focused on smart devices over the past year,” says Ronan Wisdom, ODIN’s COO. “Tablets such as the iPad are enabling our customers to do things they could only dream of until very recently.

“We wanted to develop a truly native IOS app so customers could work with asset inspection data locally on the device for long periods of time without a network. Once synced, our EasyID cloud service provides a powerful platform for reporting and analytics. Compliance with healthcare audit and inspection mandates does not get easier than this.”

The pilot results from Bon Secours Health System showed that a process that typically required two to four weeks to conduct manually can be accomplished in as little as two days with the iPad Easy ID solution.

The EasyID system consists of an RFID reader (ODIN is using two reader manufacturers but Wisdom would not indentify them) that captures the unique ID number of a passive EPC Gen 2 tag embedded in the item.

After capturing the data, the iPad — which runs the EasyID software — stores the information and the details linked to that ID. Data is stored in a cloud-based server hosted by ODIN or on a local server. Wisdom says that ODIN will most likely release a version for Andriod by the end of 2013.

“This is eliminating all of the manual record keeping,” says Wisdom. “You eliminate the need to manually record the product serial number and describe the product. With just one click you’re in inspection mode. This also ensures accuracy and solves a regulatory headache.”

Wisdom says that ODIN is talking to manufacturers of other asset classes to gauge their interest. Fire extinguishers, for example, require safety audits similar to radiation vests. While there are products on the market for that, none of them are RFID based.

“Beyond the apron use case, we think the combination of a tablet and a lightweight pen reader can help you interact with a data center asset, a weapon, even a patient,” he says. “We see this as a real gateway to some interesting applications that we haven’t even been able to dream up yet.”

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