PROJECT UPDATE: Bibliographic reviews

Posted: March 30, 2011 by dhaigh17 in CCT 506 NFC

Jessica Steele

Bibliographic Review:

Near Field Communication technology as the key for data acquisition in clinical research

Many of us have heard – and experienced – the digitization of healthcare, however, a recent study claims the switch to computers “is only one step towards optimized workflow for clinical trials” (15).  Morak, Kastner, Drobics, and Schreier, as an outcome of the 2009 First International Workshop on Near Field Communication (NFC), published a study entitled Near Field Communication technology as the key for data acquisition in clinical research.  The study views the short range of NFC communication as a “major feature” due to the “rapid and easy communications between two devices which is initiated just by bringing them closer together” (15), while also relating mobile phones as a powerful tool for NFC communication due to these devices “powerful computing capabilities, the ability to access web-based systems, and a common user interface” (15).  Thus, the study sought to evaluate the significance of mobile phones, coupled with NFC technology, as an “easy-to-use and secure” collection of “research data for clinical trials” (16).

Currently, many health care providers employ an electronic data capture (EDC) system for clinical data collection, using a “separately installed client software application or a common web browser” to view and manually edit forms on a common interface, on a standard computer (15).  The study revealed the need for communication tools to enable health care providers to enter patient data “at the point-of-care” while also providing a method for automatically collecting medical measurements (blood pressure, weight, temperature, etc.), by means of electronic data transmissions versus manual collection.  After evaluating a number of wireless technologies, NFC was chosen for the study over “wired interfaces like USB or RS232, or wireless connections like Bluetooth or Infrared Data Association” as a method was needed without “cables or managing the wireless connection between the measurement devices and the client devices” (15).  Furthermore, NFC provided “independence from local IT infrastructure”, removing the need for a “firewall or routing system” and providing “a solution for multicentric clinical trials in several hospitals with different IT systems”(18).

In this specific study, an EDC web system interface was “configured to securely communicate” with mobile devices for data collection.  Replacing conventional blood pressure devices, participants used CardioMonTM, an NFC enabled mobile medical device to measure a range of parameters of the cardiovascular system.  Health care providers were able to use their mobile devices and RFID chips to: authenticate him/herself, to fetch the data from the device, to link them with the corresponding patient ID, and to upload the record to the EDC system without performing a single keystroke” (17).

Finally, the study states NFC was “able to enhance the utility of an EDC system for clinical trials” by providing “easy-to-use, intuitive and time-saving data acquisition” (training time took only five minutes) (19).  Furthermore, the study also revealed a number of suggestions for further uses of NFC within the healthcare environment.  In relation to our project, this study demonstrates the significance NFC technology, and standards, can bring to just one field.  As NFC enables healthcare providers to dramatically decrease their workflow, while also providing a lower margin of error in patient data collection, the communication solution proves a significant change to not only healthcare but to the greater social landscape.  Also, in the study’s suggestions for further uses, we see the full potential of NFC is yet to take effect and the wide-range of solutions which have yet to be discovered or implemented.

Works Cited

Rimminen, H.; Lindström, J.; Linnavuo, M.; Sepponen, R.; , “Detection of Falls Among the Elderly by a Floor Sensor Using the Electric Near Field,” Information Technology in Biomedicine, IEEE Transactions on , vol.14, no.6, pp.1475-1476, Nov. 2010
doi: 10.1109/TITB.2010.2051956
URL: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=5477180&isnumber=5610573

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Comments
  1. Alexandra Landegger says:

    “Info Center.” BrightCard, 2008. 30 March 2011.

    Near field communications, although an interesting technology by itself, must be studied in terms of its integrations with other technologies. This marriage into one device s can enable an entirely new range of commercial applications. BrightCard, a Maryland-based RFID vendor, has been leading a trend to merge radio frequency identification (RFID) with near field communications (NFC) technologies to create a secure and convenient application of the two technologies.

    BrightCard’s Info Center includes a great deal of information (white papers, videos, background information, spec sheets) on NFC technologies, which could be useful to our project. This source details the history of NFC development, and opens the “black box” of NFC technology by explaining and illustrating how multiple applications work. The site includes white papers detailing how to integrate RFID and NFC for peer to peer data sharing, secure payments, retrieving marketing information (direct cyber-marketing), and providing smart-card-like cybersecurity. Based on these capabilities, the site proposes multiple market applications for NFC/RFID devices. This is important to our research as we investigate how NFC technology may continue to evolve. BrightCard also examines the ISO standards related to these technologies, which highlights a potentially interesting research option for us to pursue in the future. Additionally, BrightCard partners with a number of similar technology firms to optimize its market attractiveness, so the links to these companies may provide additionally useful information.

    To arrive at a maximally comprehensive approach to our project, it is good to include this type of research, as it shows a distinct perspective from the industry/news/academic/others we have looked at–BrightCard is a vendor trying to give value to its innovation by applying technology to a broad range of industries and market needs. To supplement the bias of including one vendor, it may be worth looking into the white papers, spec sheets, and press releases of competing companies.

    Also, it is important to note that BrightCard’s website is somewhat outdated (2008). However, between professional contact with the company, searching news sources, and further investigation of their technology partners, we will be able to access more updated information as needed.

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