WHAT IS RFID?
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is an automatic identification method based on wireless electromagnetic radiation in the radio frequency (RF) range. Information encoded through RF waves is transmitted wirelessly by devices called tags and received by devices called readers, sensors, scanners, detectors or interrogators. Vital information, most typically a unique serial number for the tag, can be stored on each tag and read by interrogators.
In healthcare applications, RFID tags are typically applied to movable medical equipment (such as infusion pumps and wheel chairs), hospital patients and/or clinical staff to track their location and movements. The most common application is asset management.
ACTIVE VS. PASSIVE RFID
VIZZIA deploys both active and passive RFID systems. Active RFID tags send out their unique identifying code at several-second intervals, thereby providing hospital staffers with “real-time” visibility. Most passive tags, on the other hand, must be scanned by a handheld device in order to elicit a signal.
BENEFITS OF ACTIVE RFID
- Location Accuracy within several feet
- System operates on separate network — doesn’t overtax WiFi infrastructure
- Sensors plug into wall — easy deployment
- RF signal is not disrupted by presence of water or metal
HOW DOES IT WORK?
In an active RFID system, RF readers are mounted at strategic locations throughout the hospital, where they receive signals from nearby tags that have been mounted on assets or attached to staff/patient badges.
An active RFID tag contains three major components: (1) a microchip for modulating/demodulating the RF signal, (2) an antenna for receiving and transmitting the signal, and (3) a small battery to power the microchip and send the RF signal. The internal power supply (battery) makes active tags bulkier and significantly more expensive than passive tags. However, active tags can be more reliable (i.e. few errors) than passive tags due to their ability to conduct a “session” with the reader. Also, because active tags have an on-board power supply, they transmit signals at higher power levels than passive tags, allowing them to be more effective in “RF-challenged” environments or at longer distances.
Active tags are ideal for the real-time tracking of patients and clinical staff in a hospital. They can also be used to improve equipment distribution with the right set of analytical tools and procedures.
ACTIVIX: RFID AT ITS BEST
VIZZIA‘s ActiVix solution is based on the selection, deployment and management of the most sensible active RFID technology available in the market in combination with VIZZIONSM and our proprietary analytical tools. VIZZIA works with several manufacturers of RFID systems and components, including AwarePoint, Alien Technology and Avery Dennison RFID.