Spywear? VCs Fund Radianse To Track Patients

It is inevitable that Radianse Inc. will prompt comparisons to Big Brother, with its software and wireless tags that can be used to track a person’s every movement. But for the market that it serves-hospitals and other health care facilities-Radianse offers a solution for expensive equipment and delirious patients who can go missing.

The Lawrence, Mass.-based startup last week landed a Series A totaling $9 million. The round was co-led by HLM Venture Partners and Partech International and included Ascension Health Ventures.

Radianse uses RFID (radio frequency identification) tags that are larger than those used in wristband-based systems, so its initial applications are likely to center on medical equipment. However, it’s easy to understand how the company can make the case for using its software and RFID tags to track people: In an emergency, minutes-even seconds-can save lives.

Radianse has an installed application of its technology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and it hopes to complete other installations before the end of the year.

RFID has become a hot investment segment, and Radianse isn’t the only company targeting health care. Last April, venture-backed Alien Technology conducted a trial at the University of Memphis’s FedEx Center in which its RFID tags were given to 5,000 incoming trauma patients. Alien has backing from Advanced Equities, Lago Ventures Fund and Forsythe Technology.

Precision Dynamic Corp. has also developed RFID systems that it demonstrated just last month at a health care professionals conference. The privately held company, which is based in San Fernando, Calif., has been serving the health care market since the 1950s. It’s an early developer of wrist band ID systems for medical and prison facilities.