Electronic Products & Technology

Feig’s RFID technology helps Toronto hospital improve patient care

Stephen Law   

Wireless Medical

RFID Canada prescribes solutions to improve efficiency, family responsiveness at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Feig Electronics, a leading global supplier of RFID readers and antennas, has implemented its OBID RFID reader systems into the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, a leading teaching hospital in Toronto and the largest trauma center in Canada. The system has helped to improve operational efficiency and responsiveness of communications with patients and their families.

RFID Canada also helped the hospital deploy a state-of-the-art RFID solution that includes both proximity and long-range FEIG OBID RFID readers with the help of local system integrators.

RFID was first implemented in Sunnybrook’s out-patient cancer care program in the Odette Cancer Centre, the sixth largest cancer facility in North America. RFID Canada supplied low-cost, RFID-enabled patient ID cards and integrated FEIG near-field RFID readers into self-serve kiosks, allowing patients to check-in to the center’s appointment software and tracking their progress between the chemotherapy unit, doctor appointments and the pharmacy.

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre’s Out-Patient Cancer Care automatic check-in station.

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre’s Out-Patient Cancer Care automatic check-in station.

Based on the success of RFID in the cancer care program, Sunnybrook chose to expand the use of the technology. FEIG’s OBID i-scan UHF LRU1002 long-range readers are now installed to track patients’ progress in and out of 19 operating rooms, where Sunnybrook sees approximately 13,500 surgical patients per year.


Because the patient’s chart travels on the gurney with the patient, RFID tags were affixed to the binders that hold the charts, and antennas were installed at entry doors and check points in the surgical unit. The hospital’s OR Information Management Services staff wrote a custom software program that tracks the patients and their charts coming and going, and records how much time each patient spends in registration, pre-op preparation, the operating room and post-operative recovery. By tracking the time in/ time out of each area, the hospital can be informed if a patient arrived in a room before it was ready, for example, or spent more time than expected in post-anesthetic recovery.

“For utilization reporting, staffing models and patient flow, it is important for us to know and understand how much time each patient spends in each area,” said Ellie Lee, Sunnybrook manager of OR Information Management Services. “RFID is not dependent on a person to enter data into a computer. This is real time data that is dependent on a tag passing an antenna and transmitting data to a reader. RFID allows nursing and allied services to spend more time on patient care, not documentation. It also allows hospital senior administration to make informed decisions.”

Each patient is assigned a unique ID number that they may choose to provide to family members or loved ones. Sunnybrook is installing monitors in the waiting area to display real-time updates on each patient’s whereabouts, to reduce the need for family members to request frequent status reports. The display will show the ID number, instead of a name, in order to protect patient confidentiality.

“The ability to streamline and automate communications duties frees up valuable time for hospital staff to focus on delivering quality patient care,” said Bob Moroz, president of RFID Canada. “FEIG’s versatile RFID readers enabled us to deploy a fully automated system that meets various configuration needs.”

“OBID RFID readers from FEIG deliver the speed and accuracy needed to provide complete visibility into process workflow, allowing improvements in scheduling of procedures,” said Michael Hrabina, executive vice president, FEIG Electronics. “RFID Canada was instrumental in the design and deployment of an innovative RFID solution that helps Sunnybrook maintain peak efficiency.”



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