7 Things You Can Track in Hospitals Using RFID

Published on : July 29, 2022

What is RFID used to track in hospitals?

  1. Medicine and pharmaceutical
  2. Patient and history records
  3. Surgical tools
  4. Equipment
  5. Single-use items
  6. Laundry
  7. Access control

The healthcare industry as a whole is becoming more and more invested in RFID systems. The main reason behind this increasing adoption is the sheer number of uses of RFID in hospitals. From tracking surgical tools to patients and their records, their applications are far and wide in this industry.

Read on to learn more about how RFID is present in many forms within the healthcare industry — and how it’s deployed in hospitals all over the world:

Medicine and pharmaceuticals

One of the biggest uses of RFID in hospitals is in tracking medicines and pharmaceuticals. These assets are perhaps the most consumed and most critical items that a hospital can have. They are expensive and controlled commodities. Because of that, these items are at risk of being stolen or misused.

This could spell disaster if an important medicine is missing from inventory when a patient needs it most. Or, it could result in additional expenses, as the hospital has to replenish the missing stock

So, hospitals must keep a consistent count of these essential assets. RFID technology helps keep stock of each drug the hospital has. It can also keep up-to-date information on their expiry dates, and other relevant information. Overall, the RFID technology makes managing medicine and pharmaceutical inventory much easier.

Patient and history records

RFID can also be embedded in patient wristbands. This allows the hospital to keep track of the patient. The RFID tag can also be programmed to hold all relevant data on the patient, including their name, medical record, and such.

RFID tags can also be used to schedule treatments or surgeries for the patient. It is also often used to inform hospital staff of their conditions, schedules, and health restrictions. It essentially acts as the patient’s ID card during their hospital stay.

Hospitals use RFID in this way for three reasons: to verify patient information, to reduce treatment times and bottlenecks, and to keep track of patient location and movement.

Surgical tools

Hospitals use countless surgical tools — such as scalpels, scissors, clamps, and more — each day. These tools always need to be on hand, cleaned and disinfected, and 100% ready for use for each medical treatment.

However, keeping track of all these tools and their readiness is a tall task, when you account for the thousands of tools that are used and needed each day. If done wrong, then this could result in a medical mishap.

Luckily, small RFID tags are available to be attached to even the smallest surgical tools. This allows them to be tracked by the system for inventory purposes. And, they can be used to keep track of whether or not they went through the disinfection process. This makes locating, preparing, and supplying such important tools much more efficient — ensuring that doctors and nurses can do their jobs safely.


Machines, equipment, and vehicles are also important for hospitals. Tracking them is necessary for asset maintenance. It’s especially important for high-value items that occasionally go missing or get misplaced, such as portable testing machines or hospital beds.

If hospitals fail to keep track of these items, then they’d have to spend valuable time locating or replacing them. The replacement cost of these things is very high, as they are specialized machines for medical use.

RFID is useful in this case as it displays the real-time location of equipment. It can even be used to track equipment as they move outside of the hospital premises. As such, RFID is the ideal solution for equipment management.

Single-use items

Small, single-use supplies, such as gauze, disposable gloves, syringes, boxes of depressors, and the like are all important for hospital operations.

But, because they are single-use and relatively cheap compared to other hospital items, using manual systems to keep track of them isn’t feasible. Certain RFID tags provide a cost-effective solution for keeping track of these single-use items.

And, much like systems for medicine and pharmaceuticals, RFID can be used to ensure that the inventory is accounted for and always has enough for the needs of the hospital. This technology, when used properly, can reduce the risk of unnecessary waste or theft.


Hospitals use tons of towels, patient gowns, PPEs, sheets, and other laundry items every day. These are needed in almost every hospital room to provide safe, sterile, and comfortable conditions for patients and hospital workers alike.

However, each piece of linen and textile must be washed and disinfected for use before being given to new patients. So, hospitals use RFID to efficiently track the number of laundry items that are currently in use, and which ones need to be changed and cleaned. This helps hospital workers efficiently gather, sterilize, and distribute these items as needed.

Access control

RFID isn’t just used to keep track of people or items — it can also be integrated into a wider security system. Hospitals use this technology to limit access to certain wards, rooms, or areas within their facility. This prevents unauthorized persons from wandering around or accessing rooms they aren’t supposed to.

With this system, staff must use their RFID-enabled ID badge in front of a reader if they want to gain entry to a protected room. This provides another layer of security to valuable items within the facility, such as medicine, medical equipment, and the like.

Key Takeaway

There are many uses of RFID in hospitals, as this innovative technology possesses plenty of potential for improving the medical services of hospitals. It opens doors for enhanced operational effectiveness, cost savings, and quality patient care.

To learn more about RFID systems, and how they can benefit your business, message ELID. Our team will be happy to discuss the applications and benefits of our RFID systems within your industry.