Health Care RFID Startup Scores $9 Million in Venture Funding

 
 
By M.L. Baker  |  Posted 2004-07-12
 
 
 
Radianse Inc., a startup that helps health care organizations track people and equipment, has raised $9 million in private venture financing.

The Lawrence, Mass.-based company combines radio-frequency identification technology with what it calls an indoor version of the Global Positioning System. Traditional GPS does not work indoors.

HLM Venture Partners of Boston and Partech International of San Francisco each pledged $3.25 million to the round. Ascension Health Ventures, a subsidiary of the Catholic health ministry Ascension Health, pledged $2.5 million.

Matt Hermann, director of Strategic Health Venture Investing for Ascension Health Ventures, said many hospitals thought the technology could cut costs and streamline workflow. "During our diligence, several Ascension Health hospitals expressed an interest in Radianse and its unique approach to indoor positioning. The Radianse approach breaks through the barriers of cost and accuracy that have plagued other location technologies," he said in a written statement.

Radianse estimates that its systems cost from $500 to $2000 per bed, depending on the coverage area and the number of items and people tagged. According to the company, the systems will pay for themselves between one and two years.

A Radianse system has already been installed at Bostons Massachusetts General Hospital as part of a program for innovative care. The systems rely on small, battery-powered ID tags that are attached to equipment, worn by people, or integrated into other assets. Each tag transmits a unique identifier. Two buttons on the tag allow personnel to transmit information about patients and equipments status.

Radianse receivers work by hooking into a hospitals existing LAN network; information is conveyed using common Web and interface standards such as XML and SMS, as well as Java and ODBC. The system is intended to prevent patient misidentification; ensure that patients are in their rooms or ready for a procedure during doctor rounds; increase patient throughput for various clinical procedures; and reduce labor costs by quickly identifying where people and equipment are. In addition, the system can track patient wait times and equipment use.

Radianse was initially founded as Sentinel Wireless Inc. in November 2000 by former managers from Hewlett-Packard Co. and Philips Medical Systems.

Check out eWEEK.coms Health Care Center at http://healthcare.eweek.com for the latest news, views and analysis of technologys impact on health care.

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