Wednesday, May 28, 2008

CenTrack's Breakthrough, InTouch Care Real Time Location System (RTLS)

Earlier this week GE Healthcare, in association with CenTrak, Inc. of Newton, PA, announced the launch of a new RFID technology capable of dividing a room or segmenting a bay by virtually creating radio frequency identification (RFID) walls. The system is capable of tracking people and equipment in complex indoor facilities as well as their outdoor periphery, automatically and accurately.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is an automatic method for identification that's based on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders.

Off late the results of a survey recently conducted showed that about 74% of those holding management positions within healthcare companies viewed RFID and Real-Time Location as emerging technologies that that would effectively enhance healthcare processes.

How it works?

Centrack's InTouch Care™ system, based on RFID technology has the capability to monitor the location of hospital staff, nurses, doctors, and patients with high accuracy (room-level or sub-room level).
In order to use the product for identification and tracking, RFID tags need to be worn by people or attached to assets viz. medical instruments. In case of InTouch system these tags are flexible and lightweight.

Further, each of the tag carries an identification number and as the tags are continuously monitored, associated with them can be known at any point of time. For instance, if a nurse took off the tag from some equipment, the information transmitted would be "Tag#702 just removed from its asset," or for a separate event it could be "Tag#3500 leaving room 1603," etc.

The interface that makes it possible to decipher these radio frequency events into human comprehensible form are softwares, or "middlewares" as they are called.

Additionally, the system entails a variety of monitors used to track the RFID Tags in hallways, large areas, rooms, and sub-room divisions.

The Technology

The uniqueness of this system is derived from Centrack's patented DualTrak technology, this technology while offering a higher accuracy and reliability doesn't involve the time consuming site analysis. Moreover, it also doesn't require continuous tuning that some other systems need.


The main advantages of the system include, lowered total cost (also the costs associated with in-room wiring are saved), accuracy, reliability, visibility and ease of use. A system such as this can assist in and significantly enhance patient, staff workflow management, security and safety of patients and medical equipments viz. anaesthesia instrument.

In fact there seems to be quite an agreement about these, and others benefits among those occupying managerial positions in healthcare organizations. A recent survey reveals the business benefits rated as "Very Important," by managerial personnel were improving patient safety (67%), improving patient-flow management (48%), improving business processes (45%) improving productivity (48%), and technological strategic advantage (43%).

While the cost of installing an RFID based system may be somewhat more than other systems based on the bar code technology, it's on the decrease. Further, the system appears to be cost effective and could be profitable over a period of time. On the whole the system houses a great potential to facilitate many aspects of managing in hospitals and with ease.


Anonymous said...

we are looking at Centrak (and others) for an RFID project at a hospital. Have you ever heard of Awarepoint- they create a Zigbee Mesh network over electrical outlets to track tagged items/ppl

Anonymous said...

Awarepoint uses 802.15 radio frequency, it cannot provide room level accuracy because the signals go through the walls. CenTrak and Sonitor are vendors that can provide room level accuracy.

Anonymous said...

Great article as for me. I'd like to read more about this matter. The only thing I would like to see here is a few photos of any devices.
Nickolas Trider
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