Hospital Snackroom Unlikely Site For Item-Level RFID, Biometric Trial

Written by Evan Schuman
July 11th, 2007

A hospital snack room in Michigan is an unlikely place for a fullblown item-level RFID trial coupled with biometrics, but the 24-hour needs of the facility created the need.

In this eye-opening Detroit News story, the Fast Track Convenience room at Garden City Hospital used RFID tags on all products to charge purchases by–among other methods–deducting cash value on employee ID cards. Employees who can’t grab their ID cards can instead use a biometric thumb scan. With vendor assistance, the project’s initial setup cost the hospital $25K. A story worth reading and thinking about. (Note: Look closely at the photo the paper shot on-site. Love the product-level warning label placed directly on the tag: “Remove Before Microwave Use.” More “fun with microwave oven” potential than I had anticipated with item-level tagging.)


One Comment | Read Hospital Snackroom Unlikely Site For Item-Level RFID, Biometric Trial

  1. Chris Kapsambelis Says:

    The problem I see is that there is no way to account for items that the checkout reader fails to read. When the exit reader detects an item for which payment is not recorded, innocent shoppers will be accused of stealing, and guilty shoppers can claim that they paid what was requested. The system has no provision to account for “NoReads”. Given that the “NoRead” rate can range from 20% to 50% in similar applications, the success of this application is highly dependent on the honesty of the average shopper.

    Perhaps someone who lives in Detroit can run some tests and report on how well this works. I suggest randomly selecting 10 items, present them for checkout, and see how often the reader fails to record all 10.


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