3M installs track-and-trace system to manage health data at Army base


FORT HOOD, Texas 3M has installed a newly developed, automated data management system to track and manage medical records of U.S. Army service members and their families at this sprawling military base, with an eye to the kinds of health information technology solutions promoted by many health care stakeholders and the Bush administration.

The company’s new RFID Smart Shelf System—the centerpiece of a pilot project that 3M says could be extended to other bases—is designed to help cut medication errors and inefficiencies tied to manual tracking, retrieval and filing of medical records at Fort Hood, the nation’s largest active-duty domestic military base. Among other benefits, the new system will give health providers instant access to more than 150,000 medical files.

“The cost efficiency and far-reaching versatility of RFID is prompting an expanding range of innovative applications in almost all facets of society,” noted Lem Amen, who heads 3M’s track and trace technology division.

“The system is designed to provide automatic inventory monitoring and…error notification, and thereby essentially eliminate human compliance issues,” said David Erickson, the company’s Fort Hood project manager. Some 300 cabinets at medical facilities at the base have been outfitted with the Smart Shelf technology, which applies radio frequency identification [RFID] readers and specialized software to track drug utilization and other data.

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