NXP explains how NFC healthcare labels and packaging can be used to combat the spread of Covid-19

An NFC smart label on a Covid-19 test
SMART LABELS: NFC and intelligent packaging can help fight Covid-19 in multiple ways, says NXP

PARTNER NEWS: NFC-based intelligent labels and packages offer “the safety and security necessary to help tackle the spread of Covid-19 while giving scientists, medical staff and patients the ability to interact with products so they can verify authenticity, check expiration dates and even gain useful insights into the nature of the virus,” NXP has explained.

Using NFC, intelligent labels and packaging are able to support “the need to get healthcare supplies to end users safely and to protect patients while offering healthcare workers secure access to accurate diagnostics and life-saving treatments,” the company adds.

Ways in which NFC labels and packaging can be used to help flatten the curve include:

  • Product information: By tapping their smartphones to the product label or package, consumers can learn about a medication and how best to use it.
  • Consumer education: Intelligent packages can link to websites or apps that separate fact from fiction and direct consumers to relevant health agencies.
  • Tailored content: Packaging with opening-status detection can be used to deliver tailored content to the consumer, based on whether the product or package label is still factory sealed or has been opened.
  • Remote reordering: Interactive features can be used to send patients a refill reminder and enable them to renew prescriptions and re-order supplies.
  • Self-testing assistance: Digitised, step-by-step instructions can be delivered to patients to help ensure self-test kits and other diagnostic tools are used correctly.
  • Secure access to test results: Secure registration links can be provided to patients so they can gain direct access to their test results.
  • Product authentication: NFC tags with built-in security features, such as originality signatures or AES encryption with secret keys, can help ensure product authenticity and protect products. Anyone with a smartphone — inspectors and consumers alike — can securely verify that a product is genuine and meets regulatory standards.
  • Detect and deter tampering: A conductive tamper loop in the tag of an on-pack label or inside a closure can irreversibly store an opening detection and communicate the event to an NFC-enabled smartphone, removing doubts about whether a product has been diluted, refilled or otherwise substituted from the original.
  • Safe transport of patient samples: Special care needs to be taken when storing and transporting lab substances, such as patient samples which can be infectious. Secure packaging, with reliable tamper-evidence and leakage protection, can enhance such protection while also being able to store sensitive patient data that is only accessible by authorised staff.
  • Improve supply chain controls: NFC tags can be assigned to specific distributors and locations so that products can be authenticated and traced throughout the supply chain.
  • Protect the cold chain: Many medications, including vaccines, are heat sensitive and can lose their effectiveness when improperly stored or transported. NFC labels equipped with temperature sensors and data loggers can help monitor ambient temperature changes and report to a cloud service whether a product has been handled correctly.
  • Track and trace: Life scientists and governments can use opt-in track and trace features to address the ongoing risk of disease spread while enabling faster insights and quicker corrective measures.
  • Provide insights to scientists and health organisations: NFC’s ability to collect real-time data and track analytics can be used to show where sales and usage are taking place, while ensuring a high level of privacy and security for any personal data.

Further information on how NFC-based intelligent healthcare labels and packaging can be used to support the response to Covid-19 is available on NXP’s website.