Patient bracelets embedded with RFID technology securely track patient movement from admission to discharge

Santa Clara 11 February 2005The Orthopedic Hospital of Oklahoma (OHO) uses RFID technology and thin client computing solution from Sun Microsystems Inc. to significantly enhance the overall hospital experience for its patients. OHO's custom solution, developed by Sun iForce partner Creative Healthcare Systems helps enable patients to receive the five rights of medical treatment: the right patient gets the right medication at the right time in the right dose in the right location. The Sun Fire V880 server is the heart of the OHO's network, linking Sun Ray thin clients and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.

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"Our doctors see several patients each day and their number one goal is always to give the best care possible to each patient. With the technology from Sun now in place, patients have a better sense of security knowing that their medical records will automatically follow them throughout their stay at OHO via the RFID-powered bracelet on their wrist", stated Rick Ferguson, COO at Orthopedic Hospital of Oklahoma. "We are a technology-focused hospital always looking for ways to improve the patient experience while increasing operational efficiencies. We selected Sun and Creative Healthcare Systems because Sun offered a powerful IT platform that will grow and change with our needs in the years to come."

"OHO is a great example of a hospital that was able to make practical use of innovative technology to improve the patient experience at a very reasonable cost", stated Mike Haymaker, global health care industry manager at Sun. "By embedding IT into the core of the clinical process, hospitals of all sizes will be able to bring next-generation health care to patients today and Sun is proud to be part of that process."

The admittance process at OHO is now streamlined and requires significantly less paper-work. Upon admission, patients receive a paper-thin bracelet embedded with a small RFID chip containing information such as the patient's birth date, doctor's name, medication and medical information to comply with HIPAA regulations. The data on the bracelet is wirelessly transmitted to Sun Ray thin clients located throughout the hospital or Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) used by caregivers. Compared to bar coded bracelets in use at many hospitals today, RFID bracelets are welcomed by patients because they are far less intrusive.

The networked solution at OHO is comprised of 12 Sun Ray ultra-thin clients and a Sun Fire V880 server. The solution provides authenticated caregivers immediate access to complete patient records through a Java Card technology-enabled smart card. The patient data is secure because once the Java Card is removed from the Sun Ray thin client device, the data is inaccessible. If caregivers need to access the same data at a different Sun Ray thin client, they simply insert their smart card, authenticate themselves and the screen appears exactly how they left it. The convenience and ease of use allows health care providers to provide more attention to patient care.

"Because we have been a Sun iForce partner for eight years and recognizing to Sun's leadership in network computing, when it was time to build the solution for Orthopedic Hospital of Oklahoma it was an easy decision to team with Sun", stated Steve Everest, president of Creative Healthcare Systems. "The stateless Sun Ray thin clients were simple to install and make accessing the network very convenient, allowing caregivers to focus on the patient and not the computer. Because of Sun's 24x7 uptime record in mission critical situations, I felt extremely confident in the solution we implemented at OHO."

OHO is currently in phase one of the comprehensive solution, the admission and medication administration phase. In phase one, the technology identifies the patient with an RFID bracelet so that the right medication is given to the right patient. In phase two, the solution will track a patient throughout their hospital stay. The RFID bracelet will also notify the family of patient progress throughout the multiple stages of a medical procedure. Radio frequency readers will be located throughout the hospital to keep track of and report a patient's location during the entire hospital stay of the patient. In phase three, the Sun technology used in the solution is expected to reduce the time associated with gathering patient records, processing insurance claims and storing critical data.

Sun Ray ultra-thin clients provide customers with an interoperable desktop computing solution that can reduce the maintenance, upgrade, and operational costs associated with most desktop environments. The stateless nature of Sun Ray ultra-thin clients allows for complete session mobility, improves work flow, and helps ensure the protection of data. The Sun Ray 170 has a built in 17" flat panel display, which saves valuable desktop space. The Sun Ray 170 can also be wall mounted, and comes with a built in smart card reader.

Sun Microsystems and its iForce partners are committed to delivering innovative technology solutions to meet the latest IT needs of health care providers. Sun's infrastructure and edge offerings are helping health care facilities improve the efficiency of the services they deliver and ensure best-in-class patient care. From radio frequency identification (RFID) to electronic medical records (EMR), Sun is leading the way in offering health care practitioners next-generation technology.


Leslie Versweyveld

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