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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Operating Theaters of the Future

Recently attended a local meeting on RFID tagging. One presentation at that meeting was by Jim Milkovitch and Jim Waldron of Johnson & Johnson's Ethicon division. They currently have over 150 people and 35 projects working in the area of RFID tagging. One particular area of interest is their work with hospitals to created what they are calling 'operating theaters' of the future. In such an environment anything that enters the room is tagged. Patients, doctors and nurses will wear active (battery powered) tags which will be read at entrance portals. Instruments will carry passive tags. The inventory, movement and use of every object in the room will be micro tracked to determine its use. The use of objects in the theater will be compared to lists of procedures and processes to check for errors. Costs will be automatically determined. This will allow J&J to give value-added capabilities to their instruments and surgical goods. Whats useful here is the linking of sensors to procedure and location. Areas that require very precise manipulation, risk and cost, certainly like surgery, are where we will see early useful of these capabilities.

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