U.S. Air Force Medical Service taps Shipcom Wireless for health care RFID contract
“[The project] expands from just asset tracking to tracking lab specimens, medications and possibly patients,” explained David Baker, a clinical engineer with the Air Force surgeon general’s office. “When we first presented the concept and potential applications of RFID technology to the Air Force surgeon general, he quickly saw potential value on the clinical side. The biggest shortfall to this point is the lack of a well-defined business case that clearly shows the technology saves bottom line dollars.”
The project will involve a baseline assessment of the existing implementations of RFID at Air Force medical centers, using Shipcom’s hospital operational and clinical assessment model (HOCAM), according to the company.
The assessment will be followed by recommendations on how the Air Force can most effectively utilize RFID and related technologies to improve patient care and make clinical processes more efficient. Finally, Shipcom will model and implement specific RFID solutions at Keesler Medical Center using Shipcom’s x/Care suite of health care applications.
“Like the rest of the health care industry, our military’s care system is in the process of modernizing its IT infrastructure and they are taking all possible steps to ensure patient safety and improve hospital management,” Shipcom President John Shoemaker said. “Shipcom’s health care solution is a core component of that objective. We are extremely proud to be selected by the Air Force and to be a part of this defining program for all the military services.”
The initial phase of the multiyear project will begin with Shipcom conducting an extensive study across numerous military hospitals, including the Keesler Medical Center, to analyze process bottlenecks and technology challenges, according to Shipcom.
“This innovative and far-reaching contract will enable Shipcom to produce model applications that can be replicated across military hospitals and other healthcare establishments supported by sound business cases,” the company said in a news release.
Keesler Air Force Base boasts one of the largest medical treatment facilities in the Air Force. Home to the 81st Medical Group, the Keesler Medical Center contains a 78-bed inpatient hospital, outpatient clinics, a clinical research laboratory and aeromedical facilities to serve Air Force, Army and Navy bases in the southeastern United States. Staffed by more than 1,300 people, the facility serves nearly 11,000 active duty personnel and 47,000 eligible beneficiaries in the Gulf Coast area. Its clinics see about 20,000 patients each month.
Keesler also is the Air Force’s second largest mobility mission, deploying expeditionary medical support teams around the world.