However, the cost required for RFID solutions is still high especially when compared to bar codes. To keep cost down, RFID could be utilized in conjunction with bar codes and not act as substitutes.
“There is a great need to locate critical assets, people and equipment, in a timely manner,” says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Sachin Thukral. “There is also a need for more efficient staff workflow and patient throughput because of an inability to locate critical resources, and to get them in the right place at the right time.”
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Hospitals tend to be the largest market for RFID solutions, which result in saving a huge amount of time wasted in looking for pumps, wheel chairs, and diagnostic and monitoring equipment. These solutions also help in reducing costs of maintaining inventory of such products, used as an allowance for loss and theft. According to various estimates, almost 20 percent of capital in hospitals is occupied in such assets that can easily be stolen, or cannot be easily located.
One of the key challenges faced by RFID industry today is the cost prohibitive nature of tags and other associated hardware, and its unproven return on investment (ROI). Some of the perceived hurdles that stakeholders must come to terms with is that RFID, when working in conjunction with required supply chain collaboration both upstream and down, precludes the efficacy of the overall infrastructure. The use of RFID technologies in hospitals is modest to date, primarily due to cost issues.
“Even as RFID matures, it is likely that bar coding will continue to offer hospitals a proven, efficient, and more cost-effective means of capturing data for a variety of applications,” explains Thukral. “Some of the applications are bedside medication administration, unit-dose labeling in the pharmacy, specimen collection at the patient bedside, specimen tracking and management in the laboratory, materials management and more.”
RFID has advantages over barcodes in terms of durability, improved accuracy, and reusability, but it loses out in terms of cost. However, RFID solutions will not act as a replacement to bar codes; in fact both the technologies will coexist to create an effective solution.
Advances in RFID for Healthcare Applications examines the advancements in RFID technologies in healthcare industry. The key focus of this study is on tracking of assets as well as patients in hospitals, and prevention of counterfeiting of drugs, along with a complete analysis of key market drivers, restraints, and trends that are impacting healthcare providers' spending on telecom services. Interviews with the press are available.
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