Navy tracks patients with radio wristbands

The Navy is using radio frequency identification tags to track the status and location of hundreds of wounded soldiers and airmen, prisoners of war and refugees in Iraq as they receive treatment at the Fleet Hospital Pensacola, a mobile medical facility based in Florida.

Developed by ScenPro Inc. of Richardson, Texas, the Tactical Medical Coordination System lets Navy medical workers in Iraq use wristbands that emit a radio signal to identify patients.

Hospital staff members use the ID system to update patients' status, location and medical history, according to a ScenPro press release.

'When the Fleet Hospital Pensacola came to us at the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory looking for a system that would help streamline administration, patient ID and tracking while engaged in Iraq, we knew that TacMedCS would be a most effective solution,' said Michael Stiney, the company's program manager for development of TacMedCS.

Each patient at the hospital receives a radio frequency ID Smart Band, manufactured by Precision Dynamics Corp. of San Fernando, Calif., on which basic identifying information is stored.

Medical personnel use handheld radio frequency readers from A.C.C. Systems Inc. of Glen Head, N.Y., to read the unique ID number and create a digital record of treatment that travels with the patient as he or she is moved throughout the facility.

The system uses a wireless LAN through which information is transferred to an electronic data management system.

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