A comprehensive four-phase Approach
Our Consortium is following a four-phase approach (depicted in Figure below) for research, development, and deployment of an RFID-enabled blood product tracking solution across the entire transfusion supply chain. This approach, developed by the University of Wisconsin RFID Lab, is based on research of best practices for systems design and implementation, and has been successfully applied in the context of RFID applications in several industries (retail, manufacturing, and transportation).
Figure: Four-stage methodology for RFID system design and implementation.
The primary objective of the first phase was to assess the feasibility and impact (including technical, process, financial, quality, and safety) of using RFID for automatic identification and tracking of blood products throughout the blood product supply chain. This phase entails analysis from both workflow/process-oriented and technological system perspectives to define the requirements and corresponding design of the RFID solution.
The objective of the prototype phase is to demonstrate the functionality and test the limits of the RFID solution in a realistic yet safe and secure environment. Process results are compared and analyzed to confirm performance expectations and to discover potential flaws and limitations in the new system.
The pilot phase involves implementation and evaluation of the RFID solution (software application) to real processes in the blood supply chain, at limited sites and with a limited set of blood products. The pilot phase also includes collection of performance metrics in order to verify the anticipated benefits of RFID implementation.
The deploy phase involves full-scale deployment of the RFID system and RFID-enabled processes. This phase involves rigorous methods for implementing, operating and managing the system in a scalable manner during and after deployment.