USB and RFID Unite… Has Potential To Form An Innovative Solution for Patient Access

5 Sep
2008

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The French Public transportation company will begin employing RFID-enabled USB keys this coming fall allowing passengers to plug the unit into their PC’s to fund their cards at home as part of their home-payment effort. This combination of RFID and USB key has several other applications outside of transportation. Of course what immediately comes to mind is the ability for patients to have access to their personal health record via such a USB key while at home as well as allowing physicians and clinicians the ability to identify patients within a clinic when they check-in. A patient merely has to approach an RFID enabled kiosk wave their specific key and follow some on-screen prompts to authenticate and validate any necessary information prior to check-in. This enables front desk staff to know current patient volume and allows administrators and physicians insight into wait times, no-shows, walk-ins, etc… during the course of the day. This data can be aggregated and trended allowing administrators to take a proactive approach to monitoring and controlling patient wait times.

While some existing kiosk based vendors offer an intuitive interface and integration with specific backend practice management systems the older the patient is the more often they suffer from arthritic conditions making it difficult for them to type onto a keyboard or even operate a touch screen. Having a device which can at the very least notify front-desk that a patient has arrived would offer a very forward thinking approach compared with existing solutions. In RFID equipped buildings it could be easy to track patients in larger hospitals or clinic settings as they manage multiple appointments for their care. This solution would also allow empower way finding solutions to guide patients to their next clinic appointment, lab or radiology visit by simply approaching a Kiosk. Two factor authentication can easily be implemented by utilizing something the patient knows (password, SSN, DOB, etc…) with something the patient has which is the RFID/USB key.

The USB functionality of course offers patients easy access to their personal health record as well as offers emergency room professionals access to potentially life-saving patient data as well. I’ve learned of at least one large clinical practice in San Antonio spear heading a similar initiative with USB keys for the elderly population, which is a very forward thinking initiative. This has far reaching effects not just for ambulatory care but also for inpatient monitoring as well.

Source: RFID Journal

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