Smart pharmaceutical tracking and management system developed by TCM RFiD to be deployed at National Healthcare Group (NHG) hospitals in Singapore

Smart pharmaceutical tracking and management system developed by TCM RFiD to be deployed at National Healthcare Group (NHG) hospitals in Singapore

SINGAPORE – The National Healthcare Group (NHG) of hospitals in Singapore has awarded a contract to local real-time systems solutions provider, TCM-RFiD to help staff keep track of pharmaceuticals and ensure proper administration of drugs to patients.

The Intelligent Medicine Dispensing System (i-MDS), the first of its kind in Asia, will be operational by the second quarter of this year. The system runs on customized software developed by TCM RFiD, and will be deployed initially on more than 300 Motorola MC50 and MC70 enterprise digital assistants (EDA) at two NHG hospitals.

The i-MDS was designed to prevent inadvertent errors in the dispensation of drugs to patients, said TCM RFiD managing director, Michael Oh, “The system is set up to ensure that all the right procedures are being followed when it comes to the administering of drugs to patients: The right drug, right dosage to the right patient at the right time and by the right method – whether orally, intravenously or by injections.”

According to Jeff Schou, director of Healthcare, Motorola Enterprise Mobility business, “The term, ‘mobile computing’ has been a buzzword in healthcare for several years, but the absence of useful applications has traditionally restricted growth. This is now changing as the major providers of healthcare information systems have rolled out modified versions of their applications suited for pocket sized EDAs. These mobile devices, coupled with proliferating wireless local area networks (WLANs) in hospitals, are proving a potent mix for increasing caregiver productivity and reducing medical errors.”

TCM RFiD’s medicine dispensing system uses Motorola’s MC50 and MC70 EDAs linked to backend electronic medical records via wireless technology and Wi-Fi networks. The i-MDS is equipped with security functions in that the transmitted data is fully encrypted and secured.

Hospital staff can use the EDAs to scan both RFID-enabled and bar-coded wristbands that are unique to each patient. They can double-check prescription dosages, pull up patient records, or enter new information such as changes in prescriptions or patients’ allergies which are transmitted in real-time to a central database accessible only to qualified healthcare staff.

“For security reasons, the information is not stored in the EDA itself, but either sent or received via browser access and web portals. Real-time information is ensured through a multiple tracking system that will alert our personnel on 24/7 duty if there is even a fraction of a second delay in transmission,” Mr Oh said.

Mr. Schou added, “Patients rely on their healthcare professionals for quality medical care. By combining handheld mobile computing, wireless local area network (WLAN), RFID, barcode technologies and leading clinical IT and medical device applications, Motorola and our partners such as TCM, can help physicians, nurses and pharmacies obtain the information they need when they need it, so that patients can receive the right treatment at the right time.”

Mr Oh said the system would also help to improve hospital workflow management by cutting down the need to look for paper files, and hence free up time for staff to provide better quality care to patients.

Founded in 2005, TCM RFiD has to date successfully completed a number of RFID projects including its own Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative - the Charity Bike ‘n’ Blade 2006 for St Andrew’s Community Hospital. It has currently filed for three patents for its innovative products/solutions, including the RFID Intelli-Shelves for warehousing; the Intelli-Trolley and the Intelli-Medical Dispensing System for healthcare industries.

TCM RFiD was one of the winners in the start-up category at the Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) 2007 held in Singapore on the strength of its innovative efforts for the development of the i-MDS.