A partnership between GE Healthcare and CenTrak, Inc., a tracking solutions provider based in Newtown, Pa., has led to the development of a predominantly battery-operated radio frequency ID tracking system.
The result of the partnership is the new hybrid DualTrak product, operating on both CenTrak’s GEN2 infrared technology and 900 megahertz radio frequency and employing CenTrak’s real-time location system, which claims to be the only predominantly battery-powered RTLS system with room-level accuracy in the world.
DualTrak technology combines radio frequency and infrared technologies into one locating system engine. Infrared is unable to penetrate walls but can accurately isolate the asset to a specific room, while radio frequency is used to communicate location information back to the network.
GE officials say infrared technology gives hospitals accurate room-level coverage – and even bed-level coverage, which are both difficult for radio frequency based-only technologies.
“We realized early on that the basic physics of radio frequency-only RTLS solutions, such as WiFi RTLS, can never deliver a reliable room-level location and will always be just estimates with unpredictable accuracy. By incorporating our patented GEN2 infrared technology, trusted location accuracy can now be reliably delivered. It is no secret that room-level accuracy is the key to unlocking the most valuable functionality for many RFID applications and significantly impacting customer’s return on investment,” said Ari Naim, CEO of CenTrak.
The real-time location system operates on a separate network that does not interfere with existing healthcare networks, both wired and wireless. The solution is designed to accommodate an unlimited number of tags and does not consume valuable bandwidth, providing the flexibility to expand tracking needs and future applications without an additional burden on the healthcare WiFi field.
“We partnered with CenTrak to deliver what our customers told us they wanted in a medical RFID tracking system: the ability to provide room-level coverage, be accurate and scalable, and be cost-effective,” said Bret Barczak, director of marketing for GE Healthcare. “Prior to this latest evolution, traditional RFID installations in a separate, wired infrastructure took six months. Now, with battery-operated readers, it may only take six days, minimizing installation costs, operational disruptions, and other hurdles.”