At a medical facility, staff can remove patient records (file folders) from a room. The room is locked using a standard tumbler lock (i.e., no swipe cards).
The medical facility does not have much funding available. All staff members have a computer in their office (some computers are several years old). All staff members, who have permission to fetch file folders, have a computer and a known location.
A significant amount of time is spent physically "tracking down" the location of patient records. This is inefficient for the person trying to find the files and disrupts other staff who are queried during the search. Eventually (possibly years hence) the records will be digitized.
This is a classic library book check-out problem.
This is what I am thinking:
- Web service that tracks file folders by ID.
- Print QR Code (or bar code) label stickers with ID.
- Label all the physical patient record file folders.
- Equip all computers with inexpensive scanner (e.g., web cams).
- Install QR Code (or bar code) reader software on each computer.
- Write software that passes scanned document to code reader software (e.g., press CTRL-F12).
- Write a web service that updates a file folder's location given an IP address.
The part that remains is another web service that allows a person to search for an ID. The search result indicates the last known office where the folder was scanned. The tracking process becomes:
- Staff takes file folder and returns to office as usual.
- Staff holds folder to scanner, presses hot-key.
- System audibly (and/or visually) acknowledges new location.
What inexpensive solution would you put in place to substantially reduce the time taken to track down patient records (and curtail disrupting other staff)?
Ideas for hardware components (e.g., inexpensive bar code readers) are appreciated. Inexpensive bar code readers requiring resident driver software that takes several megabytes of RAM, however, would not be feasible (due to older hardware and budget constraints).
The system likely does not need to be perfect, but it should offer a dramatic reduction on the amount of time it takes to locate a physical file folder, with minimal overhead.