U Arkansas, Wal-Mart, Blue Cross, Team on RFID

Wal-Mart has partnered with the University of Arkansas and Blue Cross Blue Shield to study how Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) might best be used to improve the health-care industry's supply-chain challenges.

To spearhead the effort, Wal-Mart is pledging $1 million over the next five years to open the Center for Innovation in Health Care Logistics, which will be housed at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR. Wal-Mart will also share its expertise in technology, according to Linda Dillman, the company's executive vice president of risk management, benefits and sustainability.

In June 2005, the University of Arkansas opened the RFID Research Center as part of the Information Technology Research Center (ITRC) in the Sam Walton College of Business. Bill Hardgrave, director of the RFID Research Center, said the new Center for Innovation in Health Care Logistics will research how technology can be used to improve logistics within a medical facility, as well as the entire supply chain that moves drugs, medical equipment and information to and from medical facilities.

"This is a research center really focused at looking at the health-care supply chain," he said, "and at putting the right materials in the hands of the doctors and nurses, where and when they need them."

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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