Army Taps 3M for RFID Tracking of Medical Records

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2006-07-25 Print this article Print

The Army will use RFID to track the medical records of thousands of personnel stationed at Texas' Fort Hood and their dependents.

3M, the makers of Scotch Tape and Post-It Notes, announced July 25 it's inked a three-year deal with the U.S. Army to develop and install an RFID-based system to track medical records.

The Army, which has forked over $3.76 million dollars to 3M, plans to track a portion of the files at its Fort Hood Army base in Texas—the military's largest active duty domestic base.

Fort Hood houses the active medical records of more than 150,000 men and women stationed at Fort Hood—and their dependents' records.

In the course of a single month, upwards of 70,000 of those files are used across Fort Hood's six medical clinics, transferred from one location to the next.

The idea with the 3M project is to tag and track each file as it moves in and out of a central filing room, to reduce errors in the manual tracking, retrieval, filing and file merging processes within the Army, according to 3M.

As with other military entities, there are a lot of acronyms involved in the deal.

TATRC, or Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, is the unit within the Army that is actually leading the RFID effort.

TATRC is itself a unit of USAMRMC, or the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command.

During the scope of the three-year project, 3M is charged with choosing and optimizing the best RFID technology for file management, according to a 3M statement.

It's also charged with developing a system that includes shelf-based reading capabilities and with getting a staff onboard to maintain the system.

To read more about the FDA's recommendations on RFID, click here.

"The system is designed to provide continuous automatic inventory monitoring and automatic error notification; and, essentially, eliminate human compliance issues," said David Erickson, 3M program manager and principal investigator for the Fort Hood project, in a statement.

"Recognition of RFID as a means of improving file management is growing rapidly, both within and outside of government. Problems in this area not only can waste time and money but more importantly can adversely affect the delivery of medical services and the timely deployment of personnel to their assignments to other parts of the world."

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: Army Taps 3M for RFID Tracking of Medical Records


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