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Barcoding Inc.'s RFID technology could mean less typing for doctors

Technology take the typing out of medical record keeping

Baltimore-based Barcoding Inc. is providing its radio frequency identification technology to a Louisiana startup that aims to automate the collection of medical data during doctor's visits so physicians have more face time with patients.

New Orleans-based Better Day Health is combining the RFID technology with voice recognition and Web-based cloud and mobile technology to make it so doctors no longer have to type in patient's medical information while examining them. Instead, a device will pick up their voices and automatically input the information into electronic medical records.

The idea represents a novel application of Barcoding's RFID technology, which is used primarily for managing inventories and supply chains by manufacturers, distributors, retailers and even hospitals. Barcoding and Better Day Health said the new system has the potential to improve operations at medical facilities as well as make the patient experience more personable.

"If you aren't doing the data entry, the doctor likes his job more and the patient is getting more eyeball time with the doctor," said Ken Currie, vice president of business development for Barcoding, which is headquartered on Boston Street in Canton.

Better Day Health has been testing and working to improve the system for about a year and is now ready to market it to doctor's offices and hospitals.

It is the latest way hospitals and other medical facilities are using technology to improve the way health care services are delivered.

Both the University of Maryland Medical Center and the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center use barcode scanning to track dispensing of medications.

"As Maryland's hospitals transform to improve patient experience, extend care beyond their four walls and reduce the cost of care, technology does and will continue to play a critical role in the care delivery process," said Nicole Stallings, vice president of policy & data analytics for the Maryland Hospital Association.

"It's exciting to see how new developments in medical and consumer technology can improve the relationship between hospitals and patients, and between hospitals and their communities," she said. "Advancements in technology are part of an ever-growing set of tools that hospitals employ to achieve their goal of providing people the right care, at the right time, in the right place."

While radio frequency identification dates to World War II, RFID technology truly emerged in the 1960s and '70s as inventors developed tags to prevent theft in stores, to serve a keys, to track cattle and to follow the shipment of nuclear materials around United States.

Manufacturers now use the tags to track products from when they're made until a consumer buys the merchandise at a store. Libraries, including those in Baltimore County, use it to track books and speed up the checkout process. The tags also are used to pay tolls through E-Z Pass and to track vehicles.

Under Better Day Health's system, patients will receive an RFID-enabled visitor badge when they check in. The badge will link to electronic medical records with their health data. Doctors and staff also will carry badges with the technology.

When a doctor meets with a patient it triggers the software on a device. The device's voice recognition technology will record what the doctor and patient say. The device will be able to suggest a diagnosis, record the visit in patient records and even select billing codes. The system also will be able to track where patients are and see how doctors and nurses spend their days.

Dr. Peter Ragusa, the CEO of Better Day Health, said he came up with the idea after learning the federal government would require electronic medical record keeping to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.

He said two doctors are using the system now and he expects more than 500 by the end of next year.

"It represents a creative and innovative way to take advantage of that," he said.

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