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Three Ways NFC Technology Can Be Used In Healthcare

Guest Blogger – Kelly Kane @KellyKane

I recently had the opportunity to attend a panel discussion at MIT called NFC in Smartphones Transforms Healthcare. The event was all about Near Field Communication or NFC technology and healthcare. NFC technology enables devices to communicate together by simple tapping. I’ve embedded a video so you can see how it works:

The most popular discussions about NFC technology are surrounded by mobile payments such as Google Wallet and Isis (created by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless). This was the first time I had heard of NFC technology being used in healthcare and was impressed with its uses that included:

  • Medication compliance and monitoring
  • Home healthcare monitoring
  • Monitoring sleep patterns

One of the panelists discussed how medication-related hospital admissions can cost upwards of $100 billion each year. With NFC technology used in healthcare, forgetting to take medications may be a thing of the past. For example, users of the technology could have a tag placed on their medication bottle and then tap their NFC-enable phone on it to send an alert to their physician that they took the medication. In addition, if they forget to take it, they will receive an alert on their phone reminding them to take it.

NFC technology can also be used in home healthcare. After leaving the hospital, physicians can monitor a patient’s activity at home, whether it’s making sure they took a bath, used the restroom, or went out for a walk; the patient can simply tap a tag to alert the hospital of their activities, or lack thereof, to ensure they are monitored.

Lastly, monitoring sleep patterns was one of the most interesting things I saw at the event. Users can wear a credit card-sized wireless device around their upper arm that can monitor sleep patterns via NFC technology. The device allows users to create reports and provide this information to their doctors to provide them with a snapshot of their sleep patterns.

NFC technology is still in its infancy and I anticipate much more to come for healthcare adoption. Have you seen anyone use NFC technology in healthcare? Please share your examples below!

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