Report: RFID makes economic sense in specific applications

Despite the high price tag, radio-frequency identification definitely may have a future in healthcare, particularly for hospitals that have well-defined problems with a measurable cost, such as lost telemetry packs.

In a white paper on 10 technologies that C-level hospital executives should pay attention to, the ECRI Institute says that RFID vendors may promise a quick return on investment for all kinds of uses, but top management should focus on things like tracking expensive medical devices that often are in short supply around the hospital. "In these cases, promptly locating equipment and using RFID's tracking capabilities to open up the bottlenecks can significantly reduce the need to expand inventory (whether renting or purchasing) when demand is high," the report says.

RFID is the only mobile technology to make the top-10 list, though ECRI does address mobile imaging equipment in its discussion of another important technology, "hybrid" operating rooms.

To see the entire top-10 list:
- download the ECRI Institute white paper here (reg. req.)
- check out this HealthLeaders story