Hospitals face a wide variety of challenges ranging from rising workforce cost to data management. Digital tools like the Infrafon CC1 Smart Badge reduce administrative and repetitive work, improve process safety and help healthcare staff to focus on patient care and communication. Precise log files fulfil complex documentation needs.
Infrafon is building a platform where independent software vendors and IT integrators can work together to deliver a product system that fits the needs of individual organizations and helps them to meet modern healthcare challenges. The product ecosystem is constantly evolving and growing together with a network of partners all over the world.
Business process management
Secure check-in identification
Medical device integrations
Digital patient records
In a healthcare setting there are two important concerns. The first relates to privacy and data security. The Infrafon architecture is unique, there is no OS, but it works like a data terminal, no patient or other sensitive data is stored in the device. All data remains where it is i.e. in the facility/organization backend. Security by design is furthermore granted because the CC1 Smart Badge is completely controlled by the organization, a Badge holder cannot do unwanted activity. End-user control is limited and communication between the device and the backend system is restricted to a structured REST-API dialog. This dialog uses chip level encryption with the NXP secure element 050 edge lock (EAL6+ certified), CL/MIFARE/Wi-Fi credentials and key storage secured by blockchain.
The second important concern is accessibility: With the CC1, Infrafon delivers a slimmed down device using style congruent and simplified DataView tasks to make dialog interaction simple and effective. These simplified DataViews can easily be transformed into audio messages for visually impaired staff.
The check-in process automation and the indoor localization features, open up a whole new perspective on work time evaluation and shift data recording.
Nurse Wilson arrives for her early shift, starting in 5 minutes. She checks in with her Staff ID, enters her confirmation key on the number pad and takes her CC1 device, which provides all the access tokens she needs for the elevator, security doors and medicine storage.
While she is working her shift, her movement profile is logged and can be used for payroll confirmation. To protect her privacy, when she uses the bathroom or stays in the recreational areas, geofencing prohibits movement tracking. When her shifts ends, she checks out, leaving her CC1 device at the check-in.
Nurse Wilson arrives for her early shift, starting in 5 minutes. She checks in with her Staff ID, enters her confirmation key on the number pad and takes her CC1 device, giving her all the access tokens, she needs for the elevator, security doors and medicine storage.
While she is working her shift, her movement profile is logged and can be used for payroll confirmation. To protect her privacy, while she uses the bathroom or stays in the recreational areas, geofencing prohibits movement tracking. When her shifts ends, she checks out, leaving her CC1 device at the check-in.
Staff check in requires a form of authentication; the scanned information of the ID card is checked with the hospital’s active directory staff data. The entered pin number confirms the claimed identity. While the CC1 device is being initialized with the required RFID tokens, the kiosk loges the arrival time into the hospital staff time database. During the use of the device, it sends out a signal which is detected by the multiple sensors inside the building, sent via the Wi-Fi Network to the backend Infrafon server, where this data is used with the WT-Consulting SAS localization algorithm to locate the device and log the movement profile. Geofencing is used to block certain areas to comply with user privacy. When the device is brought back to the kiosk, the staff member is checked out and a full shift documentation is ready to be used to create the payroll document.
Many hospitals are still using analog paging systems, with minimal functionality: Via a stationary Interface a pager number is called, the respective pager beeps and displays the caller’s number. Alarm fatigue is a serious issue, staff become overloaded by alarm signals and are desensitized to important calls. With the CC1 used as a digital pager, communication becomes interactive and intelligently selective.
Nurse Wilson needs an orthopedic surgeon asap in the operation room on the second floor in her wing. She logs into the web interface, filters for orthopedic surgeons and sets the location.
Surgeon Davies on the right floor receives the message on his device, he has an upcoming operation in a few minutes, so he chooses the decline option on the touch display. The message is routed further to surgeon Brown on the other side of the building, he accepts the request and nurse Wilson is informed about the result.
The basic beeping via a stationary interface (e.g., Cisco connection) is emulated in the Infrafon system. In addition a web interface lets the user log in to a desktop or mobile device and message either the desired CC1 pager directly with the pager number/name or filter by location and/or by roll. Through geolocation via GNSS (outdoor) and the connection to the hospital’s active directory every desired staff member in service can be localized and messaged. Receiving the message on the CC1 works in multiple steps: First, a webhook routes the message data to the Infrafon entity server, there it gets converted into a CC1 readable JSON file. The CC1 is subscribed to the respective channel and in a set time interval the CC1 does a lookup for pending messages via the hospitals LoRa network. (LoRa is a low power, long range wireless network built for IoT applications) If there is a message, the device logs into the Wi-Fi and downloads it. The user is then notified by a blinking LED / message sound and the message is displayed on the screen with a set of pre-defined replies. Which are sent back using MQTT protocol again.
Many hospitals use a variety of payment methods for a variety of vending machine options. Digital tools can help to simplify these processes.
Dr. Evans and his colleague Dr. Phillips are going for a coffee in the cafeteria, payment is contactless using their CC1 devices.
Infrafon is equipped with RFID emulation chips NXP 7150, 5210 and secure element SE050, Door lock operation on demand, i.e. secured by Touch PIN as well as contactless payment functions can be realized. Hospital equipment like electronic wheelchairs can be borrowed and brought back using the same technology. Human to Human interaction, secured by NFC proximity can revolutionize hospital Doctor - Patient processes including precise documentation of medication.
The prescription of medication and other forms of treatments is an important workflow, requiring authorization and documentation by doctors and nurses.
Mr. Richard is in an examination process with Dr. Brito. Before they started Dr. Brito scanned Mr. Richards device to confirm the start of the appointment. First a blood sample is required, so Dr. Brito takes an empty container and scans the NFC label with his CC1. The container is filled and is ready for the laboratory. Next there is a MRT examination planned, for which a contrast medium is required. Since Dr. Brito is the Mr. Richards attending physician, no real time authorization by another doctor is required. Dr. Brito scans the label and awaits a quick confirmation from the system, while it checks for any known allergies and cross interactions with Mr. Richards medication plan. The treatment is authorized, and Dr. Brito continues.
The CC1 Smart Badge is equipped with the NFC NXP NTP5210, SE050 secure element and PN7150 and can be used as an active and passive NFC reader/writer (reading and emulatiing i.e. MIFARE DESFire EV2). Optical 1D and 2D codes can be read with the help of a scanner module. By scanning the patient’s device via NFC, the operating doctor or nurse starts the prescription or sample collecting, the request is, securely encrypted, sent to the backend (via the internal Wi-Fi) and checked for permission. If allowed, the operating doctor or nurse is now able to scan NFC labels or QR code medication labels with input of the dose via the touch screen, to request a prescription and allocating them to the patients record. This information is then sent and processed by the hospital’s backend, e.g., checked for allergies or cross interactions.
Workplace safety is one of many concerns in a high stress environment like a hospital. A digital companion like the CC1 can enhance staff safety.
Dr. Audrey is a psychiatrist at the mental health department, she is visiting one of her patients. Before starting the conversation, she enables voice streaming on the audio module equipped CC1. She knows if there is a heightened aggression potential in the patient’s voice, she will receive a warning and backup personal assistance.
Using the CC1 Smart Badge optional audio module, the device can record and stream vocal audio to the backend, where this data then can be processed by a neural network to find patterns and in the case of danger to automatically alert staff. The audio module is powered by the CC1’s battery, it records sound and transmits it to the CC1 using a BLE connection. The CC1 encrypts the files and sends it via MQTT protocol to the Infrafon entity server.
Dr. Andrews would like to go to lunch with his colleague Dr. Evans. He knows Evans is operating and will not be available until noon. From his desktop or phone, he can use a web interface or application from his preferred messenger and choose to send the message to Dr. Evans’ Infrafon.. With the message he has the options to give pre-defined answers. For example, he can ask “Do you wanna go for lunch?” *Yes/No* and “Where do you want to go” *cafeteria/restaurant1/restaurant2*. This way it will be very easy for Dr. Evans to answer, even in between medical procedures.
Messaging works very similarly to paging. The preferred messaging service, like Netsfere or Trustner messenger, are extended using a plugin, so CC1 devices can be selected. If a device is selected, a CC1 specific mask will be applied. The message data is transmitted to the Infrafon entity server (using webhook), where a DataView (JSON file) is created. The MQTT Server announces a message to the CC1, which performs an interval LoRa lookup and switch to Wi-Fi if to download the JSON file. The device then, via audio or haptic feedback, informs the user about the message. As soon as the messenger DataView is opened it displays the message on the touch screen, with the answer options beneath. The device sends back a reading confirmation, which is then displayed as a double mark on the message author’s side. Like the selected answer, this can also be rerouted to the author’s CC1 device.
Access to medication storage and medical equipment is often restricted, only certain staff members, for example only those on duty at the respective station, have access to the medication store and equipment.
Nurse Cooper is the night nurse, after check-in she uses her device to open doors, to get to station 4 where her shift starts. To get pain medication for Ms. Wallace, she taps her device on the lock panel to open the medication store.
When the user checks in, they are automatically registered and verified for the respective shift using the active directory data API. The temporary access tokens for the respective station are downloaded on the CC1 and can be updated OTA, using internal, encrypted connection via LoRa / Wi-Fi. When using the device to open the NFC lock, the device automatically sends a notification with information about who and which lock was opened to the backend via LoRa, where it can be stored in a database.
The global covid pandemic has shown that tracking personal contacts is one of the most effective tools for keeping the infection rate low. In a hospital environment, it is even more important to have tools available to document infection chains.
There has been a case of Covid-19 at the hospital. Ms. Taylor, working in administration, just needs to allocate the case to the CC1 user and authorize the sending of a message to all physical contacts of the user in question.
Using beacon signals, every CC1 can detect another signal, as long as it is with a certain distance. It processes this information internally and sends it via LoRa or LTE to the backend MQTT where it is further routed to the hospitals server and logged into the respective data base, where this log than can be used to track infection chains.
A solid base of data is the foundation for any management. Digital tools are designed to collect information to help make better decisions.
Mr. Smith, working in management, wants to find a way to improve customer experience. He uses the survey tool, where he can design an individual survey as a DataView. He chooses a template, edits the text, and selects answer options. He would like to survey older patients a few minutes before leaving. Now he can deploy the survey by selecting age 60+ and a location near the exit.
Surveys can be designed like any other DataView. As soon as the user is detected via indoor geo localization using radio signals. Data from the active directory using the device ID, parameters like age, gender, staff/patient are checked for a suitable user. The survey DataView is then sent using the same methods as messaging via the hospitals Wi-Fi infrastructure. The survey answer is then securely transmitted to the backend.
Digital solutions for patients and visitors should aim to improve customer experience, to give more individualized treatment, to ensure safety, to save time and to help make communication between staff and patients more effective.
One of the more obvious solutions in the digital age is the reduction of check-in personnel as these tasks can be easily managed by terminals with or without human assistance - in fact most people prefer automated interactions for simple tasks, saving time for the customer and personnel costs for the business. Some hospitals are already implementing check-in kiosks, where patients and visitors get a printed ticket or a temporary ID card. This is a great solution for the check-in / identification process, but there is much unused potential here. The Infrafon system, using the CC1 as a mobile smart badge aims to revolutionize check-in and the patient journey.
Mr. Richard is a recovering cancer patient; he arrives at the hospital for his half yearly check-up and screening. At the entrance, he checks in at the self-service dispenser with his health insurance card and confirms with a verification code on the keypad. A few seconds later his personalized CC1 device is dispensed. On the e-paper display Mr. Richards sees his home screen, showing his identification and his upcoming appointment with Dr. Phillips. Today Mr. Richard is 30 minutes early for his check-up. While he is waiting in the cafeteria his CC1 vibrates, and a notification pops up: Mr. Richard’s doctor is free and offers to reschedule the appointment so that Mr. Richards doesn’t have to wait any longer. He accepts the invitation, the appointment reminder pops up, he confirms with the “accept” option and leaves for the third floor, where Dr. Phillips is waiting him. Because he is very familiar with the hospital, he does not need to use the provided guiding system, that uses localization and wide LCD screens mounted to the walls and ceilings in every corridor. When he arrives at the elevator, he taps his CC1 against the panel. The doors open and the third floor is already preselected. When he arrives at the checkup room, he sees the big e-paper sign with Dr. Phillip’s name and the new appointment time, he taps the CC1 against the lock panel and the door opens.
At the core of the Check-In process stands the Infrafon kiosk. Check-In requires a form of identification, this could be a pre-sent QR-code, a health insurance card, a passport or just a personal PIN. While checking-in, the provided ID is verified using a REST-API of the hospitals active directory combined with an infrared face identification camera. Using the provided data, the Infrafon Kiosk personalizes a charged CC1 device by initializing it (via Wi-Fi) with a data view ID card (a JSON file converted through the CC1 firmware to a displayable screen) and the other data views respective of the AD’s instruction. Access tokens, according to the user’s permission level, are loaded on to the device and can be updated OTA using wireless communication like LoRa or Wi-Fi, encrypted by the NXP SE050. The CC1 is easily integrated with any pre-existing appointment application, already running on the hospital’s server to manage, schedule and reschedule appointments. The staff interaction happens using the familiar desktop interface or smartphone application using the internal APIs. The application interface can be extended to mask certain events and adapt it to the displayable options. A webhook then routes the required data to the Infrafon entity server, there the data view JSON file is created. The required device, which is subscribed to a specific MQTT channel does a LoRa lookup every minute. As soon as there is a message, it connects to the Wi-Fi, downloads the JSON file and displays the message. The touch interaction feedback is sent back the same way. All communication between the device and the backend server is end-to-end encrypted.
Hospital buildings are often hard to navigate for patients and visitors who are not familiar with the architecture. A patient guiding system prevents long queues at the reception and patients getting lost.
Seven-year-old Paul is a patient at the children’s hospital building. He is relatively new and has an x-ray appointment in 15 minutes. He gets the notification on his CC1 and sees his avatar on the device: an elephant. Now he just needs to follow the large wall displays, mounted at every significant way point in the hospital. As soon as Paul comes near the displays, his elephant-avatar, combined with a directional arrow is shown. Arriving at the x-ray section, he sees a panel with the elephant and his room number 4. His appointment with the doctor’s name and the elephant avatar are shown on the e-paper display on the door. The door opens and Dr. Jones welcomes him.
CC1 Smart Badge devices can be localized in- and outdoors. Indoors we recommend using radio technology RSSI or AOA. The device sends a signal that is read by the receivers nearby. The signal is then routed to the backend server, where it is used to calculate the position. If the user is outside GNSS is used. In combination with stationary displays it is possible to secure navigation of visitors.
Communication between staff and between staff and patients is one of the main topics of digitalization in the medical environment. With the Infrafon system, the focus is mostly on providing tools for simple and structured dialog, not to replace face to face interaction, but to allow care workers to focus on the essential topics of their communication.
Ms. Wallace is a bed-bound patient. When she needs something, she can just use her CC1, select either the “bathroom assistance” or the . Now nurse Ellen who is assigned to Ms. Wallace’s station gets a notification on her device, she opens the message and confirms it. Ms. Wallace gets the feedback on her device and knows her request has been taken care of. Later in the morning she gets a notification for ordering lunch, she opens the message and there is the are three lunch options displayed. Other patients receive four options, but since Ms. Wallace has a lactose intolerance, the fourth option is already filtered out by the system. She chooses option two and an hour later it is served.
Patient to staff communication through the mobile device is designed to be limited and structured. Most messages will be based on a displayed text with 2-3 selectable options. The process takes place using DataViews sent to the device (via Wi-Fi in JSON format) and then displayed for the user to select option on the touch fields. The selected options are then sent back to the backend, where they are processed and either logged into a database or used build a new CC1 readable JSON file, for another user to give feedback.
Providing patients with a more personalized treatment is one of the benefits that modern medicine can offer. But to do so, it is necessary to find ways to collect patient data in a secure and privacy compliant way. These tools can then also be extended outside of the healthcare facility, to pave the way for a comfortable and safe transition from the hospital to the patient’s home.
After his cancer treatment a few years ago, it took Mr. Richard many weeks to get back to his old self. What helped him and his physiotherapist, was the access to his movement and exercise data, as well as an overview of his food and drink intake. It especially helped Mr. Richard to stay motivated, because he felt accountable to meet the targeted lifestyle goals. He also decided, together with his physician Dr. Phillips and physiotherapist, to take the early discharge option, where he would take home his mobile CC1 together with a wearable blood pressure and heartrate sensor. Every hour his health parameters and his exercise data are sent securely encrypted to the hospital, where his doctors have access to it. The ability of the device to detect a medical emergency, like a fall, helped him to be more comfortable in his daily life.
To collect temporary data about health parameters, the hospitals backend server uses a combination of data from the Bosch accelerometer built into the Smart Badge CC1, as well as the localization methods. If there are digital enabled fitness machines the CC1 is used as identification via the passive NTP5210 NFC and the data is encrypted and transmitted to the backend MQTT server. Food and drink choices can be logged in combination with the purchases made via the CC1. Health parameter measurements like heartrate or blood pressure can be taken at the patient’s home, using mobile equipment, the CC1s acts as a gateway connection to the equipment and uses the LoRa or LTE secure EAL6+ encrypted connection to the hospital’s backend for transmission.