Evaluation of the Effects of Radio-Frequency Identification Technology on Patient Tracking in Hospitals: A Systematic Review

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The aim of this study was to systematically review all studies that evaluated the effects of using radio-frequency identification (RFID) for tracking patients in hospitals.


The PubMed and Embase databases were searched (to August 2015) for relevant English language studies, and those that evaluated the effects of a real-time locating systems with RFID for patient tracking in hospitals were identified and extracted.


Of the 652 studies found, the 17 relevant studies were extracted for inclusion. Five of the extracted studies used RFID systems in operating theaters, two in emergency departments, one in a magnetic resonance imaging department, one in a radiology room, and the remaining eight studies were in other wards. In these studies, features such as the feasibility, accuracy, precision, reliability, security, level of satisfaction, cost of care, and time efficiency of the RFID systems were reported. Of all the extracted studies, seven evaluated the accuracy of the systems in crowded and unattended areas, and five of these were satisfied with their accuracy. Six evaluated the reliability of the systems, and all of these found the systems to be reliable. Six evaluated time-savings, and all of them reported the systems to be time effective. Two focused on the cost of care, and both of these reported the systems to be cost effective.


Although most studies reported a positive impact on the accuracy and precision of patient identification, there is insufficient good evidence to show that RFID systems can accurately localize patients in crowded settings.

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