Bassin de Thau Hospital in the city of Sète in southern France is live with an innovative RFID-based medical record management system that leverages Tageos’ ready-to-use passive UHF RFID labels.
With a capacity of 823 beds and a staff of over 1,500 professionals, Bassin de Thau Hospital counts amongst the largest medical facilities in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southern France.
The RFID solution is already yielding significant time saving and productivity gains for the fifteen medical archive specialists who work at the hospital.
- As paper patient records get scanned using a PDA on their way in and out of the central archive room, many records may be scanned simultaneously. This offers a significant productivity improvement versus the previous process where patient records were manually identified one at a time using barcode readers.
- When a patient record is not found on the shelf where the system indicates it should be, the archive specialists quickly hone in on the misplaced record using their PDA equipped with an RFID antenna, capable of locating patient records within a vicinity of sixteen feet.
- When a patient record is misplaced elsewhere in the hospital, it is also much more rapidly found thanks to the same PDA, with the archive specialists waving their PDA’s antenna in the rooms where the record was likely misplaced.
With the ongoing computerization of patient records, initiatives to bring productivity to the management of existing paper patient records are often neglected. While many hospitals are transitioning to all digital patient records, some government regulations mandate that hospitals keep existing paper patient records for upwards of thirty years depending on patients’ ages and medical conditions.
We now digitize all new patient records as well as those of patients who return to our hospital. However, law mandates that we store existing paper patient records for twenty to thirty years depending on each patient’s medical condition and age. Dr. Nhut Truong-Minh, Medical Information Department Director, Bassin de Thau Hospital
After a first feasibility study in 2008, the hospital selected the RFID Medical Archive Solution jointly developed by Lamap, a company specializing in paper archive management, and RFID integrator Frequentiel. Tageos was chosen to provide the ready-to-use passive UHF RFID labels used by the hospital.
Today, all new patient records are automatically created in both digital and paper formats. For each patient record, some documents are only stored in paper format. Other documents are stored both digitally and on paper. While some are only stored digitally. It is Dr. Truong-Minh’s team’s mission to manage the dual electronic and printed patient record system.
As a new patient record gets created, or as one of the 120,000 existing patient records gets accessed and updated, all paper documents in the record are inserted into a paper folder that includes an EOS-500 UHF RFID label from Tageos. Within the central archive room, the tag is encoded with the patient’s unique identifier. Over 40,000 paper patient records out of 120,000 are now tagged with a Tageos RFID label. Going forward, 15,000 additional patient records will be tagged each year.
An RFID portal at the entrance of the central archive room scans patient records as they enter or leave the room. The archive team also uses handheld PDAs to locate lost medical records elsewhere in the hospital. The same PDAs are used to locate medical records that have been misplaced within the archive room.
Previously, while barcodes were manually scanned as paper records exited the archive room, they were rarely scanned again as they were being handed over from one department to another.
The system indicated that a given record had been borrowed by medical department A, but when we checked, we’d often realize that it had been passed on to medical department B with no trace whatsoever of that handover. Dr. Nhut Truong-Minh
In 2013 and 2014, the hospital will install RFID portals at key locations in the hospital. When a patient record will move from one department to another, the RFID tag will be automatically read and the handoff of the record from one department to another will be automatically updated in the central archival system.
It was a significant effort these past three years to tag all new and updated patient records. We are going this year and the next to install RFID portals, starting by installing one at the entrance to each of the three wings of the four floors. Dr. Nhut Truong-Minh
Once those portals are deployed, transfers of patient records from one department to another will be automatically logged.
The hospital also envisions labeling medical supplies and bed linen as they move through the hospital. And if privacy concerns are addressed, the hospital even foresees equipping patients with RFID bracelets.
All in all, the RFID medical record management system powered by Tageos at Bassin de Thau Hospital is already yielding significant productivity gains, and forms the foundation for a broader hospital-wide asset traceability system that will be deployed in 2013 and the years to come.