Wireless Hospital Results
- July 04
Sensinode and the University of Oulu announce results from the Wireless Hospital (WILHO) research project showing that new RFID + 6lowpan technology speeds up processes in a wireless hospital.
Radio frequency identification combined with wireless technology can make routine tasks less time-consuming in a hospital. The Intelligent Systems Group and Centre for Wireless Communications, University of Oulu, have together developed new RFID technology that communicates with a mobile terminal wirelessly.
User interfaces are about to be revolutionized when RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology and interfaces working by touch become a reality in everyday life. Mobile terminals will appear, through which people can collect and share information with others. "In hospitals these terminals and wireless communication can optimize many routine tasks and free resources for actual nursing", says Professor Jukka Riekki, ISG Wilho Project Leader.
As a result of the project a software platform and a small wireless RFID reader, which communicates with Nokia 770 terminal wirelessly, have been created. NFC (Near Field Communication) compliant RFID technology was used in the project, due to its suitability to personal area network technology. A communicating link between the terminal and a device can be established by touching a tag on the device. The short-range wireless communication follows the IEEE 802.15.4 and 6LoWPAN standards.
As one scenario for RFID technology the ordering of ward supplies, such as clothes, was chosen. It is much less time-consuming, when the nurses can order supplies by simply touching a RFID tag related to these items, say a morning gown of size medium, with the RFID reader. When the ordering application is started, an empty ordering form is displayed. As a tag is read, the corresponding item is added to the order form. The nurse can then manually modify the data, for example the amount of the morning gowns, if needed. After completing the form, one button press can send the form forward.
The software developed for the Nokia 770 terminal can also be utilised also on much larger scale, for instance in delivering real-time information about new patient entries, laboratory results or operating room status reports to the wireless terminals of the staff members. The hospital wards might even be equipped with fixed, large displays, which contain patient-related information for a patient and key information about the ward to the nurses.
The open source deliverables of the project are available at www.nanostack.org. The project was funded by the Finnish Funding Acency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes) as well as Nokia, ODL Health, Oulu University Hospital, Sensinode Ltd. and Medanets Ltd.
"We are excited about the direction this project has taken healthcare logistics, combining Sensinode's 6LoWPAN wireless technology with RFID to greatly improve efficiency", states Head of Research Zach Shelby, Sensinode Ltd.
The results of the project are available from the ISG-WILHO web-pages and the NanoStack SourceForge project.
For further information, please contact Professor Jukka Riekki, Intelligent Systems Group, University of Oulu, tel. +358 40 551 2122 and Head of Research Zach Shelby, Sensinode Ltd., tel. +358 40 779 6297.
The Intelligent Systems Group and the Centre for Wireless Communications are members of Infotech Oulu
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