Part 8: Bed Alarms & RFID Badges


This post is Part 8 of a series based on Nursine Jackson’s article, “What about that Device Data?”.

Bed Alarms, Smart Beds, Smart Mattresses

Data from the bed and bed alarms may also be preserved. Hospital beds, mattresses, and bed alarms incorporate technology, utilize sensor networks, and mechanize traditional procedures, which are commonly associated with electronic medical records and monitoring systems. In other words, if a patient tries to climb out of bed, the bed alarm may send an alert to the central nursing station. If the bed alarm and central nursing station are properly associated with the electronic medical record, the alarm data will be recorded on the audit trail.

Hospital beds or mattresses equipped with wireless sensor networks may collect data regarding pressure points to bony prominences. This information is intended to protect patients from pressure injuries to their skin; however, if ignored, pressure wounds will occur. Hence the bed itself may have obtained and stored data that could assist in a legal case investigating negligent care that resulted in bed sores.[1]

RFID Badges

Hospitals monitor the physical location of care providers while they are at work by tracking badge access swipes, as well as through radio frequency identification (RFID) linked to the badges. If you have reason to suspect that the providers who claimed to be at the patient’s bedside during a crisis were not, then perhaps requesting the audit trail from their RFID badges and their “proximity reports” may help identify their locations. Also, obtaining an audit trail, specific to those provider’s EMR activity, including the location of workstations or devices from which they made entries into the electronic records, with other patient identifying information redacted, may demonstrate where providers actually were during your client’s crisis.

Following is an example of an audit trail showing everyone who accessed the NICU during the target period under scrutiny.

Stay tuned for the Part 9, the conclusion of this series.

[1] Ajami, S & Khaleghi, L. (2015, October 20). A review of equipped hospital bed with wireless sensor networks for reducing bedsores. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences. (10), 1007-1015. doi: 10.4103/1735-1995.172797

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EMR Discovery offers healthcare litigation support services for plaintiff medical malpractice firms. EMRD's expertise includes EMR/EHR, Audit Trails, healthcare information systems, eDiscovery support, and analytical document review solutions. EMRD delivers a customized approach to fit each unique case.

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