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RFID devices interfere with medical equipment

Posted: 27 Jun 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:RFID  medical electronics  EMi 

The use of RFID devices in hospitals can interfere with critical care medical electronics according to a study by University of Amsterdam researchers published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The research was done in May 2006 and one active (125kHz) and one passive (868MHz) RFID system were operated at about 30cm (1 foot) from each of 41 pieces of medical equipment at the Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

In 123 tests for electromagnetic interference, RFID induced 34 EMI incidents: 22 were classified as hazardous, two as significant, and 10 as light. The passive system at 868 MHz induced 26 of the incidents while the active 125kHz RFID signal caused 8 incidents in 41 EMI tests.

One conclusion of the study is that the implementation of RFID in the critical care environment should require on-site EMI tests and updates of international standards.

Another result is that it is unlikely that RFID can be adopted quickly for use in patient or medical equipment identification or tracking.

- Peter Clarke
EE Times Europe

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