Guest Column: RFID's Increasingly Rapid Adoption in Healthcare

Varied applications, multiple solutions keep interest in radio frequency identification high in healthcare sphere

The market for radio frequency identification tags and systems in healthcare is set to rise rapidly from $90 million in 2006 to $2.1 billion in 2016, according to estimates from RFID-focused analyst firm IDTechEx. Primarily, this growth will be the result of item level tagging of drugs and real time locating systems (RTLS) for staff, patients and assets to improve efficiency, safety and availability and to reduce losses. In the following analysis, Dr. Peter Harrop of IDTechEx summarises the situation based on new research from firm's report "RFID in Healthcare 2006-2016." More information is available at

Rapid Increase in Adoption

Global market for RFID in healthcare 2006-2016 by value

Source: IDTechEx, "RFID in Healthcare 2006-2016"

Drug Anti-counterfeiting

HF: Currently Favored for Small Items

Real Time Locating Systems

Error Prevention

Table 1. Split of healthcare applications in the IDTechEx RFID Knowledgebase of 2000 cases of RFID in action.

Source: IDTechEx, "RFID in Healthcare 2006-2016"

Table 2. Main purposes for which RFID has been and will be used in healthcare.

Source: IDTechEx, "RFID in Healthcare 2006-2016"

Privacy Issues

Impediments to RFID's Rollout in Healthcare