RFID and IoT in a Smart Hospital: Benefits and Challenges of Smart Patient Tracking

RFID (radio frequency identification) and IoT (internet of things) have made smart tracking of patients very simple and fast. This has had a very positive impact on the whole healthcare system. However, while there are obvious positives of these technologies, there are also some challenges. 

We are here to tell you what to really expect from RFID and IoT. Meanwhile, why don’t you go and check out these two informative articles about custom software development trends in 2021 and marketing automation software

What’s Smart Patient Tracking?

Accurately tracking patients in hospitals helps a lot with the overall process of bed allocation, updating schedules of doctors, finding and bridging gaps in the internal processes and satisfying patients. Smart tracking of patients is done using RFID and IoT technologies for allowing tracking, analyzing and storing data. 

When a patient visits hospital, and RFID tagged bracelet is given to them. The tag features information such as name, ID, medical record, test results, allergies, present condition and prescribed medication etc. When the patient moves around the hospital the readers present in different places capture the information and transfer it to the IoT cloud for processing. 

When the patient is discharged, the tag is collected and later presented to another patient. 


Better Monitoring of Location

Real time and accurate monitoring of patients location is very useful especially for the elderly and those with mental conditions, as they are more capable of getting lost in the hospital and wandering around without being able to find their way back to their room.  

It even allows the staff to let the family directly know when the patient’s appointment will be finished. The nurses will also have ease dealing with the children patients. 


Smart tracking is especially effective when it comes to detecting incidents in advance. For example a patient falling off stairs. The IoT system analyzes the data about a patients’ condition and movements and gives the care taker an alert. 

Treatment Process Tracking

It is not uncommon for patients to forget that it’s time for medication, doctors’ appointment or time for some other medical procedure. RFID assists in identifying the location and reminding the patient of the upcoming event. 

Internal Schedules

When the timetable of all the patients are recorded in the tracking system the hospital staff can see the load in each department and on each doctor better. This allows them to better navigate the workflows and manage facilities and time.


  • There is controversy circling the use of RFID and IoT technology for tracking of patients. The arguments surround the patients’ privacy and confidentiality. To solve this issue the idea of signing a mutual agreement contract with patient is usually given.
  • Patient tracking means dealing with sensitive and private information. Even if the hospital is using a HIPPA compliant (health insurance portability and accountability act) software, careless actions of hospital staff could lead to leakages of info. So, the staff should be educated and trained on using this technology. 
  • If the patient loses or throws away the RFID tag, then it wouldn’t be possible to continue to monitor them. IoT can help here in identifying the location of the tag. 

Final Words

Smart tracking of patients help simplify the work of the hospital staff. The staff knows about the upcoming schedule of the patient, their safety, location, their current condition and prescribed medication. There are a few concerns regarding the adoption of this technology. It should be adopted with full care if the patients’ trust is to be gained and if it’s to be used widely.

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