Monday, October 26, 2015

Barcoding Inc.'s RFID technology could mean less typing for doctors

            Barcoding Inc., a Baltimore based technology company, is extending its services to a company that is trying to implement RFID technology into the patient care aspect of the medical field. The article claims that this RFID system, paired with voice recognition technology, would make patient care much easier for doctors, as well as more pleasant and beneficial for the patients.
            One benefit of this system that the article emphasizes is that with the system, doctors will not have to physically type in any medical information into their computers. The RFID chip senses when a doctor’s badge is near a certain patient’s; once a doctor starts speaking to a patient, the information verbally exchanged between them verbally is entered into that specific patient’s records. This is a benefit because the doctors can spend more time listening to a patient’s symptoms and examining them instead of sitting behind a computer. Another advantage of this system is that the RFID badges patients wear allow them to be tracked physically. I could see this being an advantage for the hospital staff because they can check whether or not a patient is in surgery, the ER, or in the recovery unit. By knowing exactly where a patient is, the hospital staff will be able to shorten the time needed for rounds, thus giving them more time to treat patients. This will greatly improve the level of care each patient gets from a doctor because they will get more time with him or her. Finally, the ability for the RFID to track where doctors are could be beneficial to improving hospitals because hospital managers can see how much time doctors are spending with patients. If a manager or a sponsor of a hospital sees that a doctor is spending too much time on break or in the incorrect unit, they can assume that the doctor is avoiding his or her responsibilities and fire them. They can also use it to track how much time each doctor is in surgery; if a doctor is logging too many surgical hours, the hospital may want to give them a break since fatigue could lead to medical mistakes. By tracking doctors, hospitals can streamline their operations and save money by not keeping ineffective doctors around.

            One implication of this system that the article overlooked is the lack of security that this system could lead to. Like any cloud based technology system, this system could be hacked, thus leaving patients exposed to hackers who may use their medical information to target them for identity theft. Another disadvantage of this system is that the voice recognition software could lead to an incorrect entry of information on a patient, since voice recognition is not always great at picking up accents or decoding complex words. This could lead to incorrect patient treatment if these records are reanalyzed at a later date. Overall, I can see the advantages of this RFID system, but we need to make sure it is safe before we use it in hospitals.

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