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RFID in HealthCare

The use of RFID in HealthCare has raised a lot of eyebrows recently. But overall, the use of these radio frequency tags can save lives and enable the disabled. And in fact, our very own Department for Veterans Affairs is currently using these RFID tags on visually impaired Veteranís prescriptions. The Talking Prescriptions are available at various Veterans outpatient pharmacies. So how do these innovative prescriptions help? An RFID tag with label information is stored inside that can be read by a battery powered talking prescription reader, these tags are equipped to read out loud the drug name, the patientís instructions and dosage amount, as well as specific warnings, like if the patient is taking the medication too soon after the last dosage.

RFID tags have also been mentioned in the HealthCare world for patient identification purposes, as well. The FDA is currently reviewing the use of RFID devices for hospitals that can be used to store patient information, such as current medications, diagnosisí and treatments that the patient have encountered throughout his or her lifetime, as well as medications that a patient may be allergic, too. Furthermore, the use of RFID tags is currently being evaluated in the use of sperm and ova identification at IVF clinics.

Other RFID tags may be used in the HealthCare world to limit access to patient records. According to new laws and regulations that were enacted under the HEPA law, only certain individuals on staff at hospitals and doctorís offices are permitted to review or discuss a patientís records. Ironically, those that are against RFID devices find themselves rallying against them because of the possible privacy infringements that could occur. But in fact, the use of these RFID devices in this particular situation could protect patientís privacy.

As the world becomes more accustomed to technology, there is no doubt that the use of RFID tags will enter the HealthCare arena. They are already in use in the pharmaceutical field. Although, the thought of embedding these devices into patients is perhaps years away and sounds more like the makings of a good spy novel; the use of RFID devices for limiting access to patient records and helping those that are disabled live better and even safer lives, will no doubt open doors for RFID in HealthCare.