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RFID for Healthcare ?!

Just imagine two years ago: If anybody would have ask you about RFID in the Healthcare world…would you have been able to answer more then with a smarter smile or with a face being ask for Radium Fired Industry Desktop? Healthcare is not a fast adopter of new technologies – first of all because of its structure of the system, because it´s quite big and because of a lack of a need for competition in many countries…but imagine what has happened in this two years: Major and smaller companies started project, smaller and bigger conference (e.g. the MEDICA – the worlds biggest Healthcare event and the CEBIT) have special panels and workshops about it…. …hopefully we have already left behind the peak of the Hype cycle: all new industries (you can read that for instance in documents of the 1930 – the German writer Bertolt Brecht wrote a theory about it) tend to be over- and underestimated. So we have always the technical minded nerds which overwhelmingly stress the golden ages of the future (made by bits and bytes) and the other ones that are saying that this wll never work and this will never change…. What about RFID for Healthcare: We have a lot of projects showing that it works; we have the first movers in all over the world already getting mature. We have now the first adopters which understand the strategic potential of realtime technologies – by the way not only RFID but an also (2-D) barcode, ultrasound based positioning and the different active and passive gen 1-2-3 rfid polymer or metal or plastic tags…. . At the moment I am waiting for a plane – we have just finished a contract for a bigger value assessment for hospital and a contract for the a company which will use RFID for the improvement of logistic processes….and I am in the way to two more possible customers… They need a clear understanding of their possible gains: qualitative improvements (reduction of medication errors, patient’s safety and comfort) and of course quantitative target (€)… and they don’t need industry based- technology sculptures with a RFID-tag…. …and they need a solution covers completely the Orwell-based fears: In Jena we found a solution together with the committee of ethics, the employees council, the data security officer of the hospital and the county… – sitting together with all questions and concerns on the table at an early stage.  Realtime awareness starts with the awareness of the reality – RFID can help here a lot!
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  • Found an interesting link about the Gartner hype cycle, which, while considered an “old” reference, is still interesting.
    Knowing a little of the dramaturgy and political theater of Bertoldt Brecht, I was left pondering exactly which quotes or contents you had in mind in this context.
    • Hello Marylin,
      maybe a “little” theory behind… – Germans can be tuff!


      “Without a doubt, Bertolt Brecht  also belongs to the old school. As early as 1931 – that is, well before Benjamin – Brecht links the analysis of the new medium of film to utopian expectations. “A film must be the work of a collective”, he demands.[6] Brecht goes on to add that a film could not be produced by anything but a collective, because technology forces financiers, directors, technicians, writers, and others to submit to the division of labor – implying modern sympoesis instead of individual authorship. This, according to Brecht, rules out “art” in the conventional sense, because art in a capitalist society implies the unique creation of an individual author usually estranged from his audience. The new technology, he says, has abolished bourgeois art: “These apparatuses are predestined to be used for the surmounting of the old untechnological, anti–technological ‘auratic’ art, which was closely related to religious practices. The socialization of these means of production is a vital matter for art”.[7] The suitability of film for socialism lies not only in its collective production, but also in a new mode of reception. Only a collective, Brecht explains, can “create works of art which transform the ‘audience’ into a collective as well”.[8]

      • Nice to quote Brecht. But we all know that this “collective thinking” is just nice to have but nothing else. There are always some who lead the collective and abuse it the way they want to.
        Peter, in my eyes a bit too idealistic…
          • …there could always be someone who controls it…someone with less praiseworthy ideas. Only because we are living in freedom and many of us have never seen how cruel and reckless humanity can be it doesn’t mean that our community is immune against it…
          • …scratching his head…

            …21st already? Wow, 21st century….(Sir) Thomas More meeting Bert Brech, discussing collectivism sparked by questions around RFID technology…

            Cool. SDN becoming a stage for philosophical debate. I like that. May be one center of today’s society.

            Raphael has to accomodate with these times first, leans back, watches the wheels go round and round.

          • Hi Anton,
            Thanks for the post. Had to search for Raphael Hythlodaeus found Utopia 🙂 (By the way your comment is number two right after the Wikipedia entry when you search for his name. It is surprising)

            One of the sweet things of S(D)N for me is that it is truly a community of people from the whole developed world here to learn, help, entertain and being entertained.

            Very nice, Mark. 

          • Who is this “someone”?

            This seems to me the good old “good again evil-story…”

            “Let me finally return to Dwight Macdonald and the responsibility of intellectuals. Macdonald quotes an interview with a death-camp paymaster who burst into tears when told that the Russians would hang him. “Why should they? What have I done?” he asked. Macdonald concludes: “Only those who are willing to resist authority themselves when it conflicts too intolerably with their personal moral code, only they have the right to condemn the death-camp paymaster.” The question, “What have I done?” is one that we may well ask ourselves, as we read each day of fresh atrocities in Vietnam—as we create, or mouth, or tolerate the deceptions that will be used to justify the next defense of freedom.”

            – Noam Chomsky, The Responsibility of Intellectuals, 1967

          • Hello Peter,

            someone=anyone who is powerful and ruthless enough to use these technologies for any negative purpose. Sometimes I believe that people only want to see what it obvious for them. Vietnam might already be far away..what about Iraq or Palestine. We “after-war europeans” don’t even have a clue what people are doing over there.
            Not good against evil…no. Evil is inherent or if not you can see how it is raised there.

            What you quoted, Peter, is a problem on another level. One shouldn’t condemn those who “create, or mouth, tolerate”, we should expect it.
            If i create a new technology I should always have in mind that my “creation” could be used in a negative sense as well. An then the question arises if I can bear this responsibility.
            It is easy to use those strong quotations from Brecht, Chomsky etc. But who will resist if it comes to the worst?
            None of those alleged “intellectuals” I know would have the courage.

  • There is nothing to critise when using RFID for Healthcare topics but what about if these technologies are used for different more “orwell-like” scenarios?
    The development of RFID for any good purpose- for reducing costs and raising benefits, or just to have the feeling to have done something groundbreaking- should not eclipse that it might be used for less glorious objectives.
    First they are developed, then they are copied and at the end they are used for things we now can’t even imagine…

    • Hello Thomas,
      in our rfid- project at the university hospital in Germany we have the “acceptance” from the
      – local committeee of ethics
      – data security officer
      -employees organisattion

      So we take a lot of responsibilty towars this issue…