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“Sorry, we have a staffing shortage,” are not the words you want to hear in a healthcare setting. It’s no secret that the pandemic burned out healthcare workers at an extraordinary rate, and hospitals are experiencing an unprecedented HR crisis. Filling the vacancies will take years while new doctors and nurses are trained. But in the meantime, the quality of patient care is suffering, and healthcare needs – yours or a loved one’s – won’t wait.

Some healthcare experts are advocating for a flex-work approach similar to the hybrid workplace many offices have recently instituted. Allowing nurses to work shorter shifts, and to choose those shifts when possible, is already showing promise as a way to retain skilled staff by accommodating a life-work balance.

Technology, too, shows a path toward better patient care with fewer staff. The healthcare sector is already heavily invested in advanced technology, from robotic surgery to electronic medical records (EMR). RFID technology is found in many healthcare settings, where its data-collection capabilities are helping to keep track of pharmaceutical and equipment assets.

RFID tags and readers instantly deliver the answers to important healthcare queries.

  • What is it? An RFID tag includes the name of a drug or piece of equipment, the manufacturer’s name, an inventory control number, and other identifying information.
  • How many are there? Tags provide a complete, accurate, and fast count of supplies, to avoid shortages.
  • Where is it? RFID-tagged equipment and personnel can be tracked in real time moving through a hospital.
  • When does it expire? RFID labels include this information; it’s especially important for patient safety, and to avoid wasting expensive drugs that weren’t rotated into use before their expiry date.

As you might imagine, finding these answers manually can be extremely time-consuming, involving multiple healthcare professionals whose time is better spent caring for patients. No one wants to see nurses running through the halls looking for a surgeon or a crash cart.

Moreover, RFID-enabled patient wristbands reduce care errors. Patients’ identities can be confirmed, their treatment plans updated, and their EMR records accessed via RFID and interoperable medical technology.

RFID saves time, reduces errors, and lets healthcare workers devote their time to patient care rather than managing supplies and equipment. It won’t solve the staffing crisis on its own, but there’s no question that it is a vital part of the healthcare personnel solution.

 

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