eShepherd Overview
eShepherd Demo
    The VeraFi™ Series
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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is eShepherd?
eShepherd is wireless information-delivery solution for healthcare. It combines a secure broadband network with a family of RFID devices (such as patient bracelets, staff badges and asset tags) to provide patient identification, patient, staff and asset location, and data-delivery to wireless devices such as a doctor’s PDA or a nurse’s tablet PC. Because information is available at the bedside, time, costs and even lives are saved.


How does eShepherd work?
The wireless network and RFID devices are in real-time communication with the Hospital Information System (HIS). This is possible through the VeraFi – a wireless access reading point that unifies the RFID and WiFi technologies. Through this communication, the eShepherd network is constantly and automatically delivering information such as patient identification and location to the other components of the HIS.


Are there terms that might help my understanding of RFID technology?

We have adopted the following definitions to clarify some of the confusion:


Passive Tag - a passive tag receives the energy it uses to transmit it's signal from a field generated by an RFID reader.  Without this field, the tag is inactive.  While it is possible for a passive tag to operate up to distances of ~10 feet, it is more common for this tag to operate with a range of inches.  EPC Global also calls these tags Class 0, 1, & 2 tags (with each class representing a step in functionality).

Active Tag - an active tag receives the energy its uses to transmit its signal from a battery or other direct power source.  This tag is always active as long as power is available.  Active tags are primarily used for distance applications and can have very long ranges depending on the environment they are used in.  This is a Class 4 tag to EPC Global and can be combined with other functions such as a sensor.

Hybrid or Battery-Assisted Tag - this tag uses both energy it receives from the field generated by the reader as well as power from an additional source to provide energy to it. The need for the additional energy may be to enable information storage on the tag, transmit more than just the tag ID, or to extend the distance that the tag can interoperate with the reader. This is a class 3 tag to EPC Global.

Long Range RFID - this is the technology used to read and communicate with tags that are a distance away from the reader.  It is typical that the user does not have control of the reader, but rather it is fixed to the facility.  With regard to frequency, long range technologies are at least in the UHF band if not in the GHz band.  Locating or tracking people (both staff and patients) and valuable and/or mobile equipment are good uses of this technology.

Proximity-Based RFID - this technology is used to sense tags that are close to the reader and often the reader is in possession or close control of the user.  Often, because the reader is in close proximity to the tag, a passive technology is used for the tag.  Some patient identification, supplies, medicines, smaller instruments, lab specimens, and blood/plasma are all good uses of this technology.


Can you give me an example of eShepherd in action?
As a nurse approaches the bedside, the patient is automatically identified and his or her records appear on the nurse’s tablet PC screen. This feature is especially critical in the administration of medications, as it has been identified that one in five medication administrations have an error. While not all of these errors cause injury, they all have significant associated costs and can lead to serious harm or death of the patient. From the bedside the nurse can access and update the patient’s records or consult reference materials. He or she could also locate equipment, such as IV pumps, or other staff members.


How does eShepherd differ from similar bar code solutions?
While bar code solutions are a vast improvement over the traditional identification method of “eye-balling” a patient, they still require many manual steps (e.g. scanning the patient’s bracelet) that can often be bypassed. Studies on the use of bar coding have shown that the technology has no impact on “wrong patient” errors because of this bypassing. Because eShepherd’s communication and exchange of data is automated, it eliminates steps that distract the caregiver, are invasive to the patient, consume valuable time, and often result in errors.


How can eShepherd help hospitals comply with mandates such as those from HIPAA and JCAHO?
Because eShepherd facilitates the paperless hospital system and has robust security features, it minimizes unauthorized or incidental disclosure – perhaps the primary objective of HIPAA. One of JCAHO’s most important mandates is the requirement of two forms of patient identification at the time of medication administration. In conjunction with the Hospital Information System, eShepherd can automatically validate the patient ID providing both methods of identification. Requirement achieved!



How will eShepherd work with my existing information systems?
eShepherd is built on an extremely flexible platform, allowing it to integrate with existing or legacy hardware as well as deliver various software applications to the bedside. The system is designed to provide your existing HIS system with additional information that can increase the impact that your systems have on creating workflow efficiencies. The most common communication method between these HIS systems and eShepherd is XML.



What if I have more questions or want to see a demonstration?
Call us. We’re happy to answer any questions or show off the eShepherd solution in person. Contact Brad Honeyman at 603.570.4000 x204 or sales@exavera.com, to learn how eShepherd can suit your particular needs.

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See how it works

See how the eShepherd solution operates within a typical hospital.



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