Healthcare and nursing home facilities made safe with RFID

Safety and security are two of the most common reasons companies cite for installing RFID-enabled systems. Few applications have such an acute, personal component to safety and security as nursing homes, healthcare, and long-term care facilities.

Many “industrial” applications of RFID tracking systems – personnel tracking, inventory management, parking lot and building access control, product delivery – become personal in residential health-care facilities.

RFID helps nursing homes and healthcare know where people are.

An aging population means more people will move into assisted living communities in the coming years. An important subcommunity with unique needs are memory-care facilities.

One of the greatest risks to people with Alzheimer’s or dementia is wandering off. Once a resident leaves the community’s property, they may board a public bus, walk the streets… any number of high-risk situations. The longer they are away from their home, the further they may get, increasing the danger and the amount of time and resources necessary to recover them.

Preventing memory-care residents from wandering off the property, and doing it in a respectful manner, is a high-priority for these facilities. UHF RFID bracelets or tags on each patient’s clothing can alert staff when a patient has left the building, when they are approaching the perimeter of the property and when they have crossed the property line. This gives facility staff multiple opportunities and detailed information to stop the resident from leaving and keep them safely at home. RFID systems can also help locate residents who may get lost on campus, perhaps having inadvertently entered a staff area or ended up in the wrong room on the wrong floor. 

RFID tags on containers of medicine for nursing home management

RFID can ensure proper medication dosage and delivery.

Simple mistakes are the root cause of many preventable malpractice incidents in the health care industry. Giving patients the wrong medicine, or the wrong dose, or the right dose at the wrong time can have serious consequences for everyone involved. RFID tagging can help ensure the right treatments are delivered at the right time to the right people, even in a large-scale setting like a nursing home or memory care community.

RFID tags are standard in warehouses and storerooms across all industries. They give the staff real-time looks at what is where, and when it comes time to pull a product from the shelf for shipment or delivery, RFID ensures that the right thing comes out of storage and makes its way to the right customer.

RFID tags on each container of medication can be linked to each resident’s personal RFID tag. Before a caregiver delivers a treatment, two quick scans can verify that the medicine matches the person. If anything is off – time, dose, patient or product – the staff member is immediately alerted and can prevent an incident.

Nursing home security and access control systems benefit from the use of RFID.

Just as nursing homes need to ensure their residents do not leave the facility without proper authorization and care, they need to ensure that no one enters the facility who shouldn’t be there.

RFID systems can secure access to staff parking lots and entrances. Each staff member can have a UHF tag in their car to facilitate movement in and out of a secure lot, along with a high-frequency or low-frequency ID tag to enter the building, access pharmaceuticals and move through staff-only areas.

When a resident moves in to the facility, their family members can be given RFID tags so they can visit easily and securely. An RFID parking tag smooths their way into a family or regular visitor lot and then cut down on their check-in time when they arrive at the front door. Doctors or caregivers can even set an alert to let them know the next time a family member visits a particular patient, in case she would like to talk face-to-face with the family member.

Like any other commercial facility, regular contractors and vendors could have their own RFID tags to enter loading and unloading areas. By issuing RFID tags at a very low cost to recurring and vetted visitors, they have an easier experience while additional access controls and security resources can be deployed to less known or unknown guests.

And, of course, through it all facility staff know exactly who is on premises and if they are only where they are supposed to be.

Nursing homes make a personal case for RFID systems.

Nursing homes, assisted living communities and healthcare facilities have unique challenges in managing the flow of people and the delivery of day-to-day care. RFID-enabled personnel, access and inventory tracking systems are an inexpensive and non-intrusive way to enhance the security, healthcare and residential experience in these facilities.

WW&L has developed RFID systems for universities, arenas, commercial properties, healthcare and residential facilities. Drop us a note or call us to talk through how RFID can make things better for your guests, clients or residents.

Access Greatness: RFID Managed Parking Lots

RFID access controls keep vehicles and people moving smoothly in and out of parking lots, improving security, efficiency and customer satisfaction.

RFID parking lot management and access control markets

When was the last time you saw a phone booth, a real working phone booth with a pay phone? Been a while. How about a toll booth on the highway, the kind where cars have to stop to hand money to a person or at least slow down enough to toss some coins into a basket? Maybe a bit more recently, but you still had to think back a bit. Now what about a parking lot attendant booth, the kind that needs to be manned at least during normal business hours if not 24/7; the kind that often has several cars idling in the queue waiting to get in or out; the kind that can’t tell you much more about the status of your parking lot other than the number of cars in the lot?

If you’re reading this blog, you probably work in parking lot management, so you might be able to look out your window and see an example of what we’re talking about. If that’s the case, our next question is: Why?

Active and passive RFID have their place in parking lot management

RFID systems come in passive and active forms. Passive RFID managed parking systems require the reader and the credential to be in close range: when you scan an access badge to enter a building or office or to lift the gate to get in or out of a parking lot, you’re interacting with passive RFID. These systems are less expensive and have less physical infrastructure on both sides than active systems.

Active systems work over a longer range and, therefore, can work at speed. Depending on the strength of the RFID transmitters, active systems can cover a range of up to 300 feet.   

Both have their place in parking lot management, even within the same facility or same lot.

Because of the cost and necessary materials, passive RFID is ideal for deploying at scale. Hangtags and windshield decals are the simplest and most cost-effective solution for employees, students and regular visitors. Their low price reduces the cost to you or the end user for a replacement tag, and the ease with which a lost tag can be deactivated ensures that a misplaced tag doesn’t lead to unauthorized access to your parking lot.

Passive RFID tags are also fully customizable. This allows universities to issue easily recognizable parking tags each semester or school year, while also having the option to “roll over” the existing set of tags. Entertainment venues, museums, amusement parks and other cultural or recreational sites can also design their tags to denote season-pass holders, reserved lot access or high-value donors or sponsors.

Active RFID parking management streamlines vendor and commercial traffic

Of course, employees’ and guests’ cars are not the only vehicles that need access to your parking lot. You have deliveries, vendors, contractors and the rest. For many of these parties and their vehicles, active RFID managed parking is worth the cost.

A small number of commercial vehicles can jam up an access control point faster than the same number of cars. This can impact the traffic flow entering your facility, wastes time and money, and puts more vehicle exhaust into the air around the lot. With active RFID, your regular commercial visitors can trigger the gate control well before they reach the access point. They can then drive right through and go about their business. And, depending on the size of their vehicle, they may particularly appreciate not having to get out or awkwardly reach out the window to scan their credential.

Like with the passive RFID systems, when the active RFID system detects a vehicle’s arrival, instant notifications can be spread to whoever needs to know. The appropriate employees will know that a delivery, vendor or contractor has arrived and they can then be waiting to meet them, again improving efficiency for both sides.

RFID combines gate access control with facility-wide security

RFID managed parking lot access systems are fully customizable in their infrastructure and applications. These systems let you control access not just at the external entrance to your lot, but within any subdivisions of your lot.

One tag can open as many or as few gates as you want. If you have executive or VIP parking, you can have an additional access point for those spaces that allow entry to only the appropriate tag holders. The marginal cost of adding that access point is much lower than it would be if you needed a manned attendant booth. Even without additional personnel on site, RFID systems increase the security of the parking lot. Because the RFID systems control exit as well as entry, a facility’s security staff always have at their fingertips a real-time view of which cars – specifically, whose cars – are where in their lots. No one wants a car to leave the lot with the wrong driver any more than they want the wrong car to enter the lot.

The tracking features are not just for the parking lot managers and security staff. Parking lot RFID systems power the displays drivers see telling them how many parking spots are available on different floors of the garage or in different corners of the lot. Real-time displays can direct drivers to the closest available spot when they arrive, and then to the quickest exit on the way out.

WW&L’s e-commerce solution for parking lot management

RFID systems and parking lot control have become an industry-standard pair. That’s why WW&L has a dedicated e-commerce site for our parking lot management equipment. Whether you need to order the next semester’s worth of hangtags or a full active RFID set-up to support your company’s expansion, WW&L has everything just a few clicks away.

And as always, if you’re not entirely sure what you need or have a few lingering questions about how to streamline your parking lot security and access controls, WW&L is here to answer any questions you have and talk through your project.

Venue Intelligence: Real-Time Counts and Alerts

Today, you can optimize the operations, capacity, and security of an event through venue intelligence. However, hospitality and entertainment venues have had to face setbacks due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Real Time Counts and Venue Capacity Management with RFID

Real-Time Counts and Alerts: What Can You Do?

Event organizers can check accurate counts of the total number of individuals present on the venue premises. The occupancy counting is a visual monitoring system that allows you to check multiple areas of a building. You can preview the live totals on a tablet-mode style screen.

You can use the same display to assign more visual parameters and alerts in specific areas of the venue. What’s interesting is that you don’t necessarily have to be at the event to monitor its total crowd capacity. You can use a mobile device and send visual texts or alerts to the onsite staff about the current capacity limits.

Here is how businesses can comply with occupancy regulations through real-time alerts and counts:

  • You can set occupancy warnings and alerts by mail or text
  • You can view the live crowd occupancy remotely and locally
  • You can see total people in each room, floor, and the entire building
  • You can view the occupancy data on a digital dashboard screen
  • You can review historical crowd occupancy for future events
  • You can check up on real-time crowd counts to ensure health and safety compliance
  • Assign warnings and alerts when crowd capacity reaches near the limit
  • Your network systems can exchange crowd occupancy data over a secure server
  • Count exact number of leaving and entering the venue
  • Count number of people leaving and entering the venue per hour or day
  • Restrict people with credentials entering the event until a specific number of people leave

Customizable Real-time Alerts

You can configure specific real-time alerts in certain scenarios. It means you can customize the total count of people in a defined venue space and add queues about capacity reaching the limit. You can even notify appearances of individuals as per their appearance.

Track Occupancy and Avoid Crowding

You can assign security parameters to VIP areas to avoid security breaches. Visually, you can see on the display total occupancy and analytics options. You can even integrate cloud-based software and create dedicated crowd occupancy reports.

Again, it is the freedom to assign separate alerts when the total capacity reaches near or exceeds the venue capacity that makes all the difference. With a single log-in, you can see the visual dashboard and review the people count virtually. When the crowd occupancy breaches the limit of the venue, the display will show red alerts.

Conclusion

Venue managers no longer have to hire dozens of venue management staff to maintain crowd limits in an event. In fact, event organizers can now review real-time counts and alerts through venue intelligence. It revolves around a combination of tech advancements that makes it easier for event organizers to keep an eye on an event’s total crowd capacity.

In retrospect, real-time awareness helps the event organizers remain proactive about the total crowd capacity. It functions as a prompt intervention at multiple interval points and helps maintain venue operations without crossing crowd occupancy issues. 

Curious to learn more about real-time counts and venue intelligence? Contact Weldon, Williams & Lick today for a free consultation

Use Venue Intelligence to Plan Smarter Events

Venue Intelligence for access control and capacity management

Venue intelligence is knowing who is doing what, when and where, and then drawing conclusions about why. RFID credentials are a simple but essential tool to learn what you need to know about how your guests experience your venue.

Smart homes and the smart things in them are all about what they do: adjust the thermostat, turn the lights on and off, moderate energy usage, reorder something that’s running low in the refrigerator. “Smart” buildings are smart at the level of computers: they help us out through clever and convenient applications of stimulus and response. But they lack actual intelligence. We still need humans for that, and humans need information. Lots of it.

Venue-wide RFID systems provide facility managers what they need to make their building operations truly intelligent. Operators are limited only by their creativity in thinking of what information they want and how they need to lay out their in-venue system to gather it.

Intelligent venues have satisfied customers

Nearly all applications of venue intelligence relate to improving the fan experience. RFID systems provide immediate as well as long-term data about crowd behavior at your venue.

RFID sensors can identify real-time hot spots, areas that have a higher than usual or disproportionate number of attendees at a given time. For example, even though your concession areas are evenly distributed around the venue, they don’t always have an evenly distributed share of concession-buying fans at a given time. Receipts can only give you part of the picture: the sales that happened. They can’t tell you how many people grew frustrated waiting in line and therefore went back to their seats unsatisfied. They don’t tell you how many people stopped in front of one stand before making their purchase from another, a possible indication that there’s something superficially appealing about that stand that doesn’t hold up to customer scrutiny and decision-making.

The intelligence provided by RFID sensors can cue you in to which concessionaires are falling short of their potential: the ones who attract interest but do not convert at the same levels as others; the ones that always seem to get the overflow from other stands, perhaps indicating a logistics or personnel issue; or those that may do better elsewhere in the venue.

How could RFID inform amenity placement decisions?

RFID does not just track bodies moving through space. RFID connects your guests to your venues. You’ll know something about those people who are deciding to make a purchase or not, or the ones who seem just on the edge of trying something new before going back to their old standby.

By connecting each visitor’s RFID credential to your CRM – something very easy to do with RFID-enabled tickets – you’ll have insights into how well your venue is matching your fans.

Maybe it was a mistake to put your top-line food & beverage outlets close to your hard-core supporters’ seating area. On the surface, it made sense to make your A-list offerings convenient to your A-list fans. But they’re there to watch the game, not sample this week’s presentation of locally-sourced chef-prepared meals. Meanwhile, you noticed that your more casual fans are making the trip to the far side of the stadium because they come for the full venue experience, of which the game is only one part of many. They may not attend as regularly and buy as much merchandise, but they are much more likely to share the game, the food and their seats on social media.

Now that you know that fans and foodies are two distinct parts of your audience, you can better cater to both.

In-the-moment venue intelligence for the most pressing fan needs

Data sourced from RFID systems often has immediate and long-term applications. For many fans, few aspects of their in-venue experience has as much immediacy as going to the bathroom. Unlike food and merchandise sales, that’s one thing that will never have in-seat service.

RFID can let you know how long the lines are at the bathrooms in your venue, and you can then relay that information to your fans. Fans can check the venue app to know which restroom has the shortest line before getting out of their seats: maybe it’ll be quicker to go to the one a little farther away. Display boards on the concourse can direct people to the most convenient restroom based on distance and wait-time. They can then decide if it’s worth the trip, or if they should hold out so they don’t miss the start of the bottom of the inning.

RFID connects fan traffic flow to sales and sponsorship revenue

Everyone marvels at the seemingly chaotic but perfectly coordinated movement of a flock of birds. Look closely enough – not with your eyes, but with data – and you might find something just as interesting and much more lucrative about your fans.

Like receipts and concessions, watching the entry and exit points of your facility only gives you part of the picture. RFID sensors can show you how people get around your venue. Are they doing it intelligently?

Perhaps people are still taking the long way around because, in your venue’s early days, there was a poorly designed bottleneck that you have since fixed. But because the attendees have not changed their behavior, they are taking an inefficient route and creating a new bottleneck. And maybe that’s why sales are so low at certain concession areas. Receipt data only tells you that their revenue is low. RFID-sourced fan behavior data tells you that they are converting the same number of passers-by as all the others, they simply do not enjoy the same foot traffic.

Similarly, are as many people as possible seeing your sponsor activation zones? Do you even know how many are?

A sponsor unhappy with their conversion rate may consider not renewing their contract or spending a lot of money in a new effort, when the responsibility lies with the venue. If you can figure that out and make amends before the sponsor does and make demands, you’ll be in a better position with that relationship. And, with the additional fan data, you can better price your sponsorships going forward.

RFID is the necessary link of venue intelligence

Venue intelligence is the next step in facility design and management. It’s as much about integrating existing information as it is gathering new data.

RFID credentials link what you know about your fans to the fans themselves and then to your venue, providing you with individual and aggregate data that you can use in the moment and for planning capital upgrades. Contact WW&L when you’re ready to take your venue from smart to intelligent.

RFID Personnel Tracking: Know Where They are and When They’re Working

RFID Personnel tracking and contact tracing

The real estate world no longer has the market cornered on “location, location, location.” With RFID personnel tracking, you can know everything from how many people are in your building to their precise location, who they are near and how they move about the space.

Before 2020, most people had never heard of the phrase “contact tracing.” Now it’s almost a way of life. Even if you haven’t downloaded a contact tracing app, chances are you’re more aware of how close you are to people, where you are close to them and for how long. That’s a lot for anyone to keep track of in the back of their mind. If you’re a facility manager, human resources or corporate health and safety professional, you obviously need something more reliable and more timely than a collection of individual memories and reports.

RFID personnel tracking systems can automate contact tracing in workplaces and venues open to the public. Each person entering the facility only needs to wear a lanyard, wristband or badge – all things they are likely wearing anyway – for them to show up in your RFID system. 

Close-range RFID Location Tracking for Contract Tracing and Employee Safety

Ultra high frequency (UHF) systems can monitor employees’ and visitors’ locations to within a few feet. These systems require RFID readers to be placed throughout the facility in order to pick up the signal from each person’s device. Tracking software will let you know the time and proximity of every interaction in your facility. While this may seem intrusive at first glance, location data could be critical in high-risk, outbreak-prone environments like hospitals, long-term care facilities and food processing plants. And it may be the key to insurance coverage for the safe reopening of high capacity and high density venues like stadiums and arenas.

Beyond our current contact tracing concerns, precision RFID location tracking can greatly improve employee safety. In workplaces with a risk of high-impact emergencies, such as chemical plants or refineries, UHF systems can make rescue and evacuation as quick and safe as possible. Your monitoring staff can provide rescue teams with the exact location and identity of anyone remaining in an affected area. This minimizes the amount of time the responders have to put themselves at risk searching for a trapped or incapacitated employee.

Under more normal circumstances, employees crowding in one area on the job could exceed the load limits on a platform, or they may be needlessly exposing themselves to the risks of the work done in that area. The RFID tags could trigger a reminder for them to disperse, and for your health and safety team to target both workplace design and training.

Beyond Pandemics: RFID Personnel Tracking Systems Create Value

At conferences, RFID tracking can let you know which booths attracted the most visitors and the most engagement. Conference organizers can use this data to improve the layout and flow of the event space, while the sales and marketing team can update the price for vendor booths and sponsorship displays based on precise, real-world data of attendee behavior. The conference team can also share this information with their vendors to help them assess their return on investment in your event and plan how they go about future participation.

The attendees themselves can also take a stake in the location data their RFID tags are beaming out: the RFID personnel tracking software can map out their “social network” from the event. By tying this into your attendee management software, you can help them reinforce the relationships they made, while furthering understanding what value you provided and what opportunities you created for your attendees.

Similarly, sports stadiums and concert venues can use close-range UHF tracking to monitor the quality of the customer experience. If one concession area is full while another is almost empty, event staff can guide some people to the less crowded area, or deploy more staff to the overloaded area. By using RFID-enabled wristbands or lanyards (which double as a collectors’ item), you can match customer profiles to their preferences in food, beverage, merchandise and sponsor activations

Scalable RFID Access Controls

Medium- and short-range RFID tracking systems provide less detail than UHF, but still support the essential goals of safety, security and productivity.

These systems are the backbone of access control, whether it’s someone entering or leaving your property or passing from one room to the next.

RFID tracking lets you go beyond unlocking and locking doors to knowing who is actually going where, and for how long. With RFID tracking systems, an unauthorized person will not be able to “piggy back” into a restricted area with someone who has the proper access. You will be alerted to the breach immediately, and can take immediate action. Knowing that the system is in place both to control and monitor access will raise every employee’s level of vigilance around access control. Therefore minimizing the number of times your security and management teams will have to intervene.

Even the most basic RFID badging system will give you real-time data about how many people are on your premises. Down to whatever level of detail you wish to have. You can keep track by room, corridor, concourse, wing, building or campus – it just depends on how many RFID sensors you choose to install. Whether you are closing up for the night or taking a muster during an emergency, RFID access and tracking systems ensure you’ll never leave anyone behind (unless they take off their RFID tag, which would be an entirely different conversation to have).

Bring Precise Location Data into Your Company

RFID personnel tracking systems scale to whatever level of detail you want regarding who goes where on your property. Almost every business group in a company can use this data to improve safety, security and productivity.

“Location, location, location” is not just about your street address any more, but about where people are within that address. If you’re ready to introduce RFID tracking systems into your company or venue, WWL Inc will work with you to determine the right system and build-out to achieve your goals for your location while taking care of everyone inside it. Contact us now to learn more.