How The Good Doctor’s St Bonaventure hospital could Benefit from Quake Global’s healthcare RFID system

Quake Global
May 10, 2018 · 3 min read

San Jose, St. Bonaventure is the fictional hospital seen in ABC’s hit medical drama, The Good Doctor. While there is no real St. Bonaventure hospital, in season 01 episode 09: Intangibles, a patient’s surgically removed specimen sample goes missing and the rush is on to locate it before expiration. This provides a good real world example of the healthcare challenges passive RFID solves. It is scary to think that this type of situation could happen in real life to anyone at any time, in fact it happens more often than you might think. Let’s discuss what happened in this specific event and how RFID technology could have saved the day for both the patient and hospital.

In the above-mentioned episode, the patient Elizabeth was given news about a nodule in her throat. While the doctors believe it to be benign, they must rely on lab testing for an accurate diagnosis. The lab results will determine the next stage of planning for Elizabeth’s treatment, without an accurate diagnosis they won’t be able to confidently treat her. Being a podcaster with the thought of losing her voice due to surgery, Elizabeth is anxiously waiting for positive news regarding her lab tests.

Dr. Andrews performs the extraction and sends the specimen off for testing. Later that night while out at dinner with his wife, Dr. Andrews receives a phone call from the pathology lab notifying him that Elizabeth’s specimen has gone missing. With the only specimen taken from Elizabeth missing, Dr. Andrews cannot accurately diagnose her. Almost immediately, multiple doctors, nurses and technicians are on the hunt for the missing specimen. If the hospital cannot locate the specimen prior to expiration there are many consequences including danger to Elizabeth’s health. Elizabeth had good faith that St. Bonaventure would provide her with effective treatment and with news of her missing specimen sample, her trust begins to diminish.

After multiple staff members spent hours searching for the specimen, they luckily locate it. The specimen was misplaced by the courier and it was pure luck that Dr. Browne was able to locate it in time. The missing specimen was a result of human error which is something all hospitals are prone to. In the chance that Elizabeth’s specimen had not been found the possibility for an expensive law suit opens and St. Bonaventure’s reputation is seriously questioned.

If St. Bonaventure hospital had a passive RFID system installed in their facility and performing specimen tracking, this case would have been open and shut. With an RFID tag on each specimen container and the RFID infrastructure tracking the location of these tags around the hospital, healthcare RFID software has the ability to narrow the search down to room level. Dr. Browne spent hours of her time searching in the wrong locations before finding the specimen. This whole event cost the hospital valuable resources and if the specimen had not been found the consequences would have been far worse. Quake Global’s RFID solution provides an immense improvement to specimen handling and processing workflows.

Specimen should never go missing. If you are interested in learning more about RFID in healthcare click here or get in touch with Quake Global.

Tanner Immonen (Marketing Coordinator — Quake Global)

Quake Global

Written by

The Leading Provider of Synchronized Asset Intelligence Solutions. Quake Global's main focus is IoT, M2M and RFID.

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