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The Intelliguard® RFID Smart Tag, smallest proven RFID tag in the industry

The Intelliguard® RFID Smart Tag is 65% smaller than any other proven tag with similar functionality available in the industry today. Designed for specific healthcare applications such as the replenishment and approval of kits, trays and tackle boxes in the hospital pharmacy, the Intelliguard® RFID Smart Tag provides a 100% accuracy rate when combined with our patented antenna system and software replenishment process.

 

Easy to use, single tag type suitable for all types of medication packaging

When asked to choose, 100% of clinicians prefer a smaller RFID Tag:

  • Easily fits on ampules and small vials.
  • Allows for ampules and vials to more easily fit in pockets of trays, kits and boxes.
  • Provides a single smart tag solution for all medication packaging including syringes, ampules, vials, boxes and bags.

Smart Tag Processing

Avoiding error is a joint health care effort and pharmacists assume a leadership role in implementing safe medication use efforts in their organizations. Any human, manual process comes with an element of error: Drug relabeling adds another potential human error that may slip into the pharmacy process. All Intelliguard® RFID Solutions utilize patent-pending RFID Smart Tag Processing to eliminate the need for medication relabeling. Our Smart Tag Processing method includes Safe Tag Encoding and Smart Multi-Batch Approval workflows for both the pharmacy technician and pharmacists.


The Intelliguard® RFID Solutions Smart Tag Processing Approach

It Starts with Serialized RFID Smart Tags

The Intelliguard® Kit and Tray Management process begins by affixing a RFID Smart Tag to medication containers. Each RFID Tag contains a unique serial number identifier. Once medication containers are affixed with RFID Smart Tags, they are placed in the Intelliguard® RFID encoding workstation and only then, are associated with the unique drug information.

By Design and With Specific Intent -
Human-Readable Information Not Required

Using the manufacturer’s bar code, medication data is scanned into the Intelliguard® Kit and Tray Management software to associate (encode) the RFID Smart Tag with specific drug information. Encoding occurs only after the RFID tag is affixed to the vial. MEPS Real-Time, Inc. DOES NOT RECOMMEND OR REQUIRE printed relabeling of drugs for its Intelliguard® Kit and Tray Management System.

The Intelliguard® RFID Smart Tags consist of an antenna and a chip that are programmatically associated with a unique identifier. The association of the RFID Smart Tag and the unique identifier is only done after the RFID Smart Tag is affixed to the medication, avoiding any potential for mix-up.

Unique Serial Number Utilized Throughout the Intelliguard RFID System

Once associated, each unique identifier is placed into a relational database and utilized throughout the system to enable effective, efficient and safe pharmaceutical inventory management processes. When pharmacy inventory intervention is needed (expiration, recall, etc.), the serial number is used to identify specific drugs and their locations.

Intelliguard RFID Smart Tags DO NOT provide any data that can be confused by a clinician. The drug manufacturer’s label is never impeded or duplicated in any way, allowing the recommended safe medication handling practice of relying on the FDA approved label for all necessary drug information by clinical teams.

The fact is, drugs are already labeled with everything the clinician needs to know. Having it twice (i.e., once on the vial label and again on an RFID label) is just unnecessary information and presents a key medication safety risk in product/package/label mix-ups.

 

Competition's RFID Relabeling Approach:

The competition’s workflow process for adding RFID tags to medications is risky. In this process, medication data is entered into the kit checking software, which then prints an RFID label on a remote printer. When drug data is input and printed remotely from drug container, RFID

labels must include some drug information. This process requires the technician to select a printed label from the remote printer, read that label, match it to the drug container, and then affix it to the correct medication package.

RFID Relabeling Example:

RFID label printed on remote printer

Human-readable information printed to identify drug data on RFID tag

Visual match required to identify medication container for which it is intended

Human error risk of mismatching RFID label and correct medication vial

Viewing this process, it’s easy to see how human error could contribute to mismatching the RFID label and the medication vial. With this approach, there is an acknowledged risk of drug mix-up.

 

Why Take Unnecessary Risk?

Relying on a visual match up imposes unnecessary risk. A printed "pharmacy label" added to the product, may be INCOMPLETE or worse, provide POTENTIALLY DIFFERENT data, creating a source of confusion for the clinician and increasing the risk of medication error.


1) The printed RFID label may only reflect partial information (e.g., drug concentration, dose, or package volume data) in which case there actually may be no way to visually confirm the drug is "labeled correctly” or


2) A one-to-one manual match-up is required by both the technician and the pharmacist for every data input on every medication package relabeled, presenting a tedious and time-consuming workflow that retains the real risk for human error and


3) Most significant, a mismatched label in the pharmacy can follow the drug from pharmacy to clinician to potentially life-threatening product mix ups at patient administration.


Every human error contributor that you can design out of your process improves the safety and quality of care you deliver. Read more about how mislabeling can lead to the medication error in our blog post, "No" is Often in Your Best Interest, and download our whitepaper, The Risk of Relying on Human Perfection, to learn more about common failure modes and the conditions that make it more likely for a human operator to make a mistake.

Compare RFID Tag Processing Workflow

Pharmacy Tech Workflow

Intelliguard
Smart Tag Processing
Safe Tag Encoding

Drug vials affixed with blank RFID Smart Tag

All vials for a specific lot number placed in encoding workstation

Bar code reader used to populate software with manufacturer drug information.

Encoder bulk encodes all tags to that lot number at once. Machine verification confirms medication data.

TAGS DO NOT INCLUDE PRINTING OF DRUG INFORMATION SO NO RISK OF MIX-UP

CLINICIANS MUST READ THE FDA
APPROVED MEDICATION LABELING

Competitors
RFID Label Printing and Med Relabeling

Drug vials separate from RFID Label

Bar code reader used to send print instructions to manual RFID label dispenser

RFID labels printed separately from drug containers

Printed RFID labels must be matched to medication packaging

MUST VISIBLY COMPARE RFID LABEL TO MANUFACTUER LABEL TO ASSURE CORRECT VIAL: HUMAN MANUAL PROCESS PRONE TO ERROR

Pharmacist Workflow

Intelliguard
Smart Multi-Batch Approval

Licensed pharmacist verification automated. Concurrent multi-batch machine verification approves

Competitors
Individual Drug Relabeling
Verification + Single Batch Approval

Licensed pharmacist to conduct verification process. Pharmacist first conducts visual inspection of each drug to see that the RFID tag information matches the medication label. Second machine verification approves

 
 

Other RFID solutions promote medication relabeling via a human-readable information printed on RFID tags as a safety issue, when in fact, med safety leaders prefer no medication relabeling. According to ASHP, relabeling medication is one of the highest causes of medication errors:

https://www.ashp.org/DocLibrary/BestPractices/MedMisGdlHosp.aspx

RFID vs. Barcode Comparison for Procedural and Emergency Tray Replenishment

For most pharmacies, significant costs, regulatory pressures and patient care and safety challenges are often associated with medication inventory management and inconsistent medication management processes. Patient safety concerns arise with stock-outs, drug shortages, expired or recalled medications. The pharmacy is often understaffed, and the regulatory environment is daunting. The challenge is to meet these demands in an environment filled with manual processes, little visibility and few automation tools. RFID and barcode technology are often utilized to enable the efficient and accurate exchange of procedural and emergency kits and trays in the inpatient pharmacy. The below table provides a comparison of RFID vs. barcode processing for kit and tray management.

Process

RFID

Barcode

Simultaneous Scanning

Yes: RFID scans entire contents of tray simultaneously to determine what’s missing

No: Requires manual inventory count to determine what’s missing

Ease of Use

Yes: Does not require particular orientation or line of sight. (e.g., entire kits, trays, bags, boxes can be read without removing medications)

No: Requires specific orientation and line of site. Items must be individually scanned and properly oriented (line of site required)

Read Rates

Reads up to 150 items simultaneously within 15 seconds

May take several seconds to read an individual tag

Electronic Pick List

Yes: Machine verification of missing, expired and soon-to-expire meds

No: Manual count to determine what’s missing

Verification of PAR Accuracy

Yes: Machine verification of entire tray each time it is exchanged

No: Does not confirm entire tray is accurate (e.g., are items remaining same as were last refilled by the pharmacy?)

Expiry Verification

Yes: Machine verification of all inventory and expiry data each time tray is exchanged

No verification of all inventory expiry data each time tray is exchanged. Last known expired med recorded

Workflow Accountability

Yes: Does not allow steps in the process to be missed; prompts and warnings facilitated

No: Enables users to circumvent key steps, thus negating error safeguards

Ease of Pharmacist Approval

Yes: Pharmacist double check via single RFID scan of entire tray. Also supports Tech-Check-Tech workflows

No: Zero time savings for pharmacist – visual inspection and count required

Labor Savings

Yes: Saves average 20 minutes on large trays; 6 minutes on small trays

No: likely to create significant additional work for the pharmacy. Increases processing time for technician; no time savings for pharmacist

Safe Tag Labeling

Yes: Blank RFID tag affixed to medications; programming occurs only AFTER tag is applied

No: May introduce errors. Barcode label printed on remote printer, then affixed to correct medication. Risk for drug mix-up handling errors

Pocket Accuracy

Visual inspection required

If used properly, may increase pocket accuracy; however, users can still bypass key steps, negating error safeguards

SUMMARY: When lives are at stake; the right tool for the job is paramount
It is likely barcodes to improve medication administration safety will remain an important objective for most hospitals. It is predicted that this will lead to a co-existence of barcode and RFID technologies, where they will play a complementary role to each other to achieve superior levels of efficiency and safety.

Due to the characteristic advantages of RFID technology, such as the ability to scan hundreds of products simultaneously, eliminating manual error-prone processes, and reducing the opportunity to bypass key steps in workflow procedures, RFID will be increasingly utilized in specific critical processes in the inpatient pharmacy. For procedural and emergency drugs and high cost specialty pharmaceuticals, RFID assures these time consuming, error-prone and easily circumvented tasks are done efficiently and safely. Manufacturer barcodes play a role even in RFID solutions, as they help automate programming of the specific drug data such as name, drug concentration, dose and package volume information. This barcode data is used to eliminate manual data entry in order to associate RFID tags to the drug to which it's affixed. Only RFID provides all the data necessary to enable error-free kit and tray management - to assure situations never arise that a critical procedural or emergency kit leaves your pharmacy with errors.

 
RFID VS. BARCODE COMPARISON PDF

Engineered With Ergonomics In Mind

All of our Intelliguard® Kit and Tray Management Workstations are engineered with human factor ergonomics in mind.

The Countertop and Under Counter Units are designed to be installed at any height to optimize comfortable, functional use.

All Intelliguard® Kit and Tray Management Systems include an integrated touch-screen computer, barcode scanner (to auto-populate medication data to be encoded), proximity badge reader (optional use) and color printer for tray approval sheets and reports.

With an easy-to-use touchscreen user interface and three unique form factors, the Intelliguard® Kit and Tray Management System can be easily customized based on your pharmacy environment allowing for proper ergonomic use and fitting your pharmacy’s specific space constraints.