Various x-rays have been taken of the patient’s finger and the doctor sits across from the patient to discuss the next steps. This particular patient—a very valuable first baseman for her local softball team—has broken her finger at a game the day before. It’s a fairly common story.
But consider what the patient doesn’t see on this particular day: That the images from the x-ray machine are actually sent to the physician’s computer—and, indeed, the patient’s record—via a technology called near field communication (NFC), provided by Identive (Santa Ana, Calif) and WPG Americas (San Jose, Calif).
“NFC technology makes it possible to move much of what we do in the physical world to the virtual world, in a way that is easier and more convenient,” said Manfred Mueller, PhD, executive vice president and managing director of Identive’s ID infrastructure division.
“In the health care market, there are dozens of areas that will benefit from the use of NFC, from making treatment information available to managing patient records. Partnering with WPG Americas on this NFC transfer solution allowed us to benefit from their extensive understanding of the medical office environment and their strong engineering expertise,” said Mueller.
According to Identive and WPG Americas, the companies have partnered to deliver an NFC solution that allows data from high-end medical imaging devices to be transferred to multiple exam room monitors throughout a provider’s office—without cables, wires, or additional network investment.
The combined solution uses NFC tags and readers from Identive with software from WPG Americas that associates digital x-ray camera images with patient records. An NFC tag is then affixed to the digital radiography camera and tapped on one of Identive’s SCL3711 NFC readers that are attached to the computer in each exam room. According to the companies, the associated software then reconfigures the wireless communications between the camera and local computer to transmit the x-ray images from the camera and associates them with the appropriate patient record.
“By making it easier to transfer x-ray images from digital sensors to computer viewing monitors in multiple exam rooms, we can help doctors, dentists, and other health care providers extend the value of this expensive equipment while ensuring the images are associated with the correct patient,” explained Dave Bowers, vice president of supplier marketing for WPG Americas.
“With their growing portfolio of NFC readers and tags, Identive is becoming known as the go-to company for NFC solutions. We are excited to continue our successful collaboration as we work together to extend this NFC pairing solution to other applications,” Bowers said.
According to Identive and WPG Americas, their combined solution addresses HIPAA compliance concerns by providing better control of the data, which then reduces the potential of the wrong x-ray being associated with the wrong patient. Further, the companies assert that digital imaging is a “huge step forward” for practices and other health care facilities that are currently using paper filing systems and film images.
The combined solution, currently in a pilot stage, was released and started shipping in November 2011.