The adoption and implementation of RFID technologies in healthcare: a literature review

J Med Syst. 2012 Dec;36(6):3507-25. doi: 10.1007/s10916-011-9789-8. Epub 2011 Oct 19.


Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology not only offers tracking capability to locate equipment, supplies and people in real time, but also provides efficient and accurate access to medical data for health professionals. However, the reality of RFID adoption in healthcare is far behind earlier expectation. This study reviews literature on the use of RFID in healthcare/hospitals following a formal innovation-decision framework. We aim to identify the common applications, potential benefits, barriers, and critical success factors. Our study facilitates quick assessment and provides guidance for researchers and practitioners in adopting RFID in medical arenas. Many earlier adopters in healthcare found RFID to be functional and useful in such areas as asset tracking and patient identification. Major barriers to adoption include technological limitations, interference concerns, prohibitive costs, lack of global standards and privacy concerns. Better designed RFID systems with low cost and privacy issues addressed are needed to increase acceptance of RFID in healthcare.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • Radio Frequency Identification Device* / economics
  • Radio Frequency Identification Device* / methods
  • Radio Frequency Identification Device* / standards