Hospital maternity wards and birthing centers must address the potential threat of abduction with security measures that track and protect their newborn patients. To safeguard against this threat, facilities deploy security systems designed specifically to maintain safety of infants in obstetric and pediatric departments using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. With a transmitter chip attached to the infant and sensors placed near exit points, an alarm is triggered if an unauthorized person attempts to remove the baby from the designated area.
Due to electromagnetic interference and lack of design sophistication, many competing manufacturers’ RFID security systems are prone to false alarms. False alarms on maternity floors are disruptive and upsetting to new parents and can harm the serene setting being fostered by nursing staff. Maintaining a safe environment can be a challenge when continuing false alarms reduce the urgency of clearing every one. They may also lead to alarm fatigue, which reduces the urgency required to respond. Infant protection systems must be sophisticated enough to overcome these challenges and remain a trusted and effective security tool. False alarms are frequently caused by radio frequency interference caused by nearby electronics and increasingly, cell phones. The embedded ID code on the Accutech Security RFID chip in addition to the unusual frequency it is transmitted on combine to make Cuddles the most reliable infant protection system available with few to no false alarms. Any false alarms that do occur as a result of noise can be tuned out.
Cell phones are ubiquitous and can cause interference with RFID tags several ways. It is possible for the power (wattage) of a phone to cause noise and generate interfering radio frequency during transmission, or from the phone itself while in standby mode. Circuitry and metal inside a phone can cause shielding or detuning of the signal if a tag is placed next to it. These factors can also work in conjunction with each other to cause unanticipated interference. In addition to cell phones, devices such as microwave ovens, walkie-talkies, wi-fi and GPS use the radio frequency spectrum and are also sources of electromagnetic interference that can hinder the function of RFID security systems. The Cuddles Infant Protection system from Accutech Security operates at a unique frequency (418 MHz) on the edge of a range available only to the Department of Defense. This helps to make them the most interference free infant abduction protection systems on the market – meaning they have the lowest rate of false alarms that lead to alarm fatigue, unnecessary stress on staff, and have negative impacts on patient care.
The Cuddles Infant Protection system from Accutech Security transmits data using radio-frequency, for sensors to track and identify tags attached to soft bracelets worn by newborns in a birthing facility. The battery powered tags emit radio waves that contain electronically stored, unique ID which sensors can read up to a 25 meters away. Unlike a bar code, the identification code is embedded in the RFID tag and does not need to be within line of sight of the sensor to be read. Many electronic devices used in residential and commercial environments emit radio waves, and in the United States, the range of the electromagnetic spectrum they can operate within is regulated by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Accutech RFID-enabled security systems can also be stagger-tuned: each zone in the system can operate on a unique frequency. This helps to avoid crosstalk from zones that are located right next to or on top of each other.
Jason R. Guerrero, the Vice President & Manager of Technical Applications, states that Accutech “has tested and verified that the RF transmissions generated by smart phones, cell phones, IPADs and the like, do not interfere with or have an adverse effect related to the RF of the Accutech tags when placed in close proximity or next to each other.” He goes on to say that “Accutech tags will continue to transmit and lock a door and or create an alarm when presented at an exit monitored with the Accutech system. Additionally, if the tag is transmitting a Band Removal signal, it has also been tested and verified that no RF interference shall occur.”
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