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But wouldn't it tie you down to use Rigel test equipment.
I'm all for a very limited form of standardisation before the decision to incorporate these into devices becomes the device manufacturers domain, i.e let us as consumers decide what's best for us, not the manufacturers of devices or RFID tags necessarily. Typically the RFID tag "route" is likely to be one that's used for tracking high-volume, relatively low value but possibly high risk, medical devices. Therefore it's a cheap solution that's required to assist in asset tracking for purposes of retrieval of equipment loaned out from libraries or for essential maintenance purposes - rather than a wireless-networked "bells and whistles" approach that might add significant costs to devices in terms of design and manufacture.

In engineering production, usually, there's ideas along a similar thread to Rigel's, introduced by different manufacturers using different technologies and eventually one becomes the de-facto standard, i.e. the one that is taken up, becomes prevalent due to uptake from the consumers and cooperation between working groups pushing the standards forward to meet requirements. Thus the "de-facto standard" forms the basis of "formalised" standards in any industry when it's formally introduced across all organisations involved in providing RFID solutions, say, for use in medical equipment devices, for example.

What's initially needed is an "open" RFID standard tailored towards device tracking/maintenance/library systems and then let companies compete over the best way to provide what the customer would like to see implemeted - that's why I asked if there were currently any RFID standards in my earlier post. One problem that I can anticipate is that an isolated RFID tag, that's not capable of extracting pertinent data from a medical device as well as providing tracking by RF, for example, might not be flexible enough (why not build a medical-standard RFID tag into devices at manufacture?).

Device manufacturers who eventually introduce their own RFID tag that can talk to other manufacturers RFID tracking system, that uses an open standard, may produce their own built-in RFID system that can pass-on more data concerning current status and location, plus service and calibration data, etc.

If there were connectivity between medical device and the RFID tag fitted to it then when the device is due servicing or when there's an error-code produced, the RFID tag (intelligent normally "passive" but with the capability of being extremely low-powered and "active", i.e. powered via the "RFIDtag socket" rather than when scanned), when it's interrogated (on a regular basis) could quickly "alert" the maintenance organisation via an RF link and it can be retreived by the equipment library. This overcomes the big problem associated with a failure to report faults (a big governance issue) because they don't know there's a fault or abuse is involved. The RFID tag could also, optionally, be used to flag-up and locate where equipment is located when service intervals or hours usuage have been exceeded.

This could overcome another problem RE: servicing - allowing service organisations to let the equipment flag up when it requires servicing - based on location perhaps? - i.e. devices in certain areas of high usage could have different intervals built into the tag data to allow intervals to be varied accordingly depending upon usage maybe). This allows each device to be retrieved, via RF tracking, as appropriate, in theory - I'm all for avoiding the utter waste of tracking down devices for servicing and flagging faults without reliance on users reporting them.

There's lots of pros and cons about theses things that I could go on about all day. This is why I would initially prefer a more flexible standard form-factor "RFID-socket" on medical device enclosures that can connect to the medical device for "medical standard" low-power and 2-way communications of pertinent data (between an "intelligent" RFID tag and "RFID tag enabled" medical devices themselves) that connect to standard RFID tag hardware of choice initially (allow flexible upgrade of RFID rather than build RFID into devices, whilst the most suitable technology evolves).

Needless to say the provision of low-power and communications between an "intelligent" RFIDtag and the medical device would mean that the data in the RFID tag could be updated and that the RFIDtag function could be configured on or off as required and the equipment details such as hospital, location, etc could be changed via a standard, but secure, interface perhaps.

What I'd propose, if I were involved in design, is a half-way house between a bi-directional medical device network and the simple, passive, relatively "dumb", RFID tag concept. For maintenance bi-directional capability is of little use, practically speaking, but if the RFID tag data can be supplemented with medical device fault status, PM due time, service data, hours operated and the stuff Rigel proposes, i.e, tracking and service records, etc, Then I can see there being many benefits I'm not going to discuss here, due to lack of time and inclination.

Personally speaking I think innovation will come from a more flexible standard, than less, that allows all manufacturers to fit their "solution" to devices and eventually provide a globally compatible RFID tracking system with applications in asset tracking, maintenance and loans but I feel that RFID tags could be designed to actively take service/fault/tracking data from the medical device and actually provide a cheap method of "keeping-tabs" on safety-critical devices that need to be tracked in the clinical environment.

Another application of course is the ability for clinical users to take serial numbers/unique identifiers/batch numbers, etc, from devices using an RF scanner (into a paperless patient management system, of course), rather than search on the equipment each time it's used, which I believe is a pain.