Berger developed the Ortho-Tag concept to resolve a frequent shortage of information he experienced with patients who had received orthopaedic implants. In many cases, patients knew little about the type of device they had received, the company that manufactured it, or even the surgeon who had performed the procedure. Those details could only be learned through an extensive paper trail, made even more complex when dealing with out-of-state patients.
"Other than written records, the only way to learn about a device once it's implanted is through an X-ray. But even that does not provide such details as size, model number, or manufacturer, or health information about the patient that is directly related to the implant's performance," Berger said.
"For a physician to provide follow-up care, it's important to know the exact device a patient has, and there are several different models, shapes, and sizes of devices for use in knees, hips, feet, the spine, and other parts of the skeleton. With Ortho-Tag, a doctor only has to scan a chip to see all that information."
In addition, said Mickle, defective implants are typically recalled by serial number, crucial information that is typically kept on written records where the original surgery took place. Ortho-Tag could be used to identify a suspect implant quickly and easily.
Ortho-Tag represents the growing potential and role of RFID technology in health care, Berger and Mickle said. A 2009 RAND Corporation (Europe) technical report found that RFID technology offers several advantages to medical care in such areas as wireless data transfer and patient/object identification and as a sensorthe primary functions of Ortho-Tag.
"There are a lot of different devices manufactured by a lot of different companies and implanted at a lot of
|Contact: Morgan Kelly|
University of Pittsburgh