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NHSX develops framework for deployment of RFID


Mark Say Managing Editor

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NHSX has developed a benefit framework and evaluation structure for applications of radio frequency identification (RFID) in healthcare.

Its digital productivity team has taken the step after carrying out research that indicated every NHS trust could save up to £5 million by using the technology, along with real time location systems (RTLS), across three key applications.

Dr Maddy Borhani, assistant director programmes, digital productivity at NHSX, and project manager Alia Hartland have outlined the move in a blogpost focused on the organisation’s work on automated identification and data capture (AIDC). This covers technologies such as RFID and RTLS that collect information from objects, sounds or images without the need to manually enter data.

They said the benefit framework and evaluation structure, made available through the Future NHS website, highlights the associated benefits for each of the three applications: device asset management, patient pathway management in emergency and surgery departments, and medicine inventory management.

Adoption challenges

This comes from a round of discovery work and a literature review that have also identified some of the challenges in adopting the technology. These include a lack of understanding of best practice and data on benefits, having to integrate it with legacy systems, and a lack of financial resources for set-up and ongoing costs.

But they also highlighted benefits in addition to the cost savings, saying: “The successful introduction of these technologies lead to a range of outcomes from increased staff productivity and satisfaction by reducing administrative burden; to improved safety and reduced error by monitoring patients, equipment and medicine.”

Image from iStock, 8vFani

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