A study in Karachi, Pakistan, is using RFID technology to measure the incidence of pneumonia in infants.
The program, called Interactive Alerts for Childhood Pneumonia, was developed by Interactive Research & Development (IRD), a Karachi-based nonprofit company, Indus Hospital and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Department of International Health, with the goal of measuring how often infants contract pneumonia as the result of pneumococcal disease (as infants in Pakistan are not given a pneumococcal vaccine).
According to RFID Journal, 4,000 infants have been supplied with a ruggedized, waterproof RFID bracelet encoded with a unique ID number linked to data about the baby's name, date of birth and health history.
When the infant is brought into the hospital or other healthcare offices in Karachi, the doctor uses a Nokia 6131 handset to scan the bracelet. If the baby requires testing for pneumonia, the IRD is alerted by SMS and team is sent to collect additional details that are entered onto a PDA, which is linked to the central IRD system via GPRS.
Result: collected data can be shared with health-care providers at any of the 25 participating health-care facilities, as well as a wealth of data on incidences of pneumonia. The program is expected to wrap up in May 2010.