Reacting to recent reports that RFID technology can cause potentially dangerous interference in medical settings, technology industry association AIM Global has announced a new initiative to create test protocols. The association hopes to create a format to help health care providers determine what effects various RFID devices could have on other equipment and establish a certification process for RFID in the health care industry.
AIM plans to develop testing protocols for 11 different ISO standards for RFID technology. The protocols will determine if and how RFID devices impact implantable medical devices such as pacemakers, monitors and other clinical equipment, as well as the technology’s effects on organic items – including blood bags, vaccines and other pharmaceuticals and the human body.
AIM plans to have the first 11 protocols ready within six months, and hopes the first certifications will be issued six months after that. Three universities are collaborating with AIM in the protocol development: Georgia Tech, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Texas at Arlington. The protocols may be expanded in the future to incude other new technologies becoming common in the health care industry.
AIM will submit the protocols to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for comment and approval.
Concerns about RFID’s use in health care received media attention when the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study by Dutch researchers documenting medical devices experiencing electromagnetic interference when in the presence of UHF and 125 KHz RFID systems. Though the study suggested on-site testing of devices before use, and did not recommend any restrictions on RFID use in medical settings, the focus on the risks caused some concern and confusion among RFID customers.