recommended reading

RFID tags eyed to track Washington-area patients in case of disaster

The government wants to use a radio frequency identification system to track certain Washington-area hospital patients in case of disaster, and is seeking small- or veteran-owned businesses to do the job.

The National Naval Medical Center, National Institutes of Health Clinical Center and Suburban Hospital are interested in using RFID tags to track and locate patients in real time, down to specific hospital rooms, with an accuracy rate of 95 percent. The Defense Department currently uses such tags to monitor the movement and location of large shipping containers.

Active RFID tags are battery-powered and have a range of about 300 feet, while passive tags, which lack batteries, have a range of about 30 feet.

The hospitals already are connected by a sophisticated communications system, which includes dedicated fiber-optic circuits and wireless communications systems. In a Sources Sought Notice, the National Library of Medicine, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, said the hospital partnership has a "critical need" for an RFID and Real-Time Location System to track disaster victims and medical assets in all three hospitals.

The notice is intended for market research and is not an official solicitation by the government. The National Library of Medicine is in charge of the planning and procurement of the RFID tags for the hospitals, which are part of the Bethesda Hospitals' Emergency Preparedness Partnership. Congress established the partnership in 2004 to provide a joint response to any local, regional or national emergency.

The RFID and Real-Time Location System developed for the partnership hospitals should include a Web-based, real-time, patient-tracking application to monitor and view the location of mass casualties within the designated disaster response areas in each hospital, NLM said in the notice. The RFID system should operate on a separate and stand-alone network, NLM added.

Tom Bednarczyk president of Silver Lining Partners LLC, a veteran-owned business in Naugatuck, Conn., said the use of RFID to monitor hospital patients after a disaster stands out as a unique application of a technology normally used to track supplies.

Bednarczyk also said he viewed the 95 percent accuracy requirement as challenging but doable. It will require, however, multiple RFID antennas and readers, he added.

Responses from vendors to the National Library of Medicine on the RFID project were due on Aug. 24.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.