Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) Tagging System

Mike Rowlands

Noel Harry

Andrew Morris

Spencer Hopkins

Marta Kasprzyk


Industry Partners:

Stanley Healthcare

Simon Jarvis

Becton Dickinson

Peter Highmore

Mark Maggs

Jose Maria de Pablo del Olmo


Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board


Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMUHB) has over 25,000 Capital and Revenue medical devices with a combined value of over £40M. This equipment contributes to the diagnosis and treatment of patients across a wide range of clinical disciplines. These devices are in the main mobile and can “follow” the patient between departments and even between hospitals.


During this movement, many devices are lost or mislaid, the effect of which reduces the number available to treat patients and takes up staff time in locating them. In February 2009 the Nursing Times reported that a third of nurses spend one hour every shift looking for medical equipment. This equates to over £4 million in lost nurses’ time per annum when applied to ABMUHB.


An evidence based solution to this problem, which has well documented peer reviewed tangible benefits, is to introduce a Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tagging system. This system would utilise the hospital’s existing wireless infrastructure and would allow staff to locate tagged assets within a few metres of its location, providing 24/7 visibility of all key assets.


This Project Supports Prudent Healthcare

  • Improved patient care by ensuring that the right equipment is made available in a timely manner, e.g. locating specialised medical equipment such as bariatric beds and hoists, ultralow beds, etc. will support the concept of delivering the right care, in the right place, every time to everyone.

  • A reduction in patient waiting times by minimising delays due to, for example, porters locating equipment such as wheelchairs.

  • Improved equipment utilisation has the potential to reduce capital and revenue costs, or to treat more patients using the same install base by ensuring the organisation extracts maximum value from these resources.

  • Reduction of risk and improved patient safety by locating equipment for statutory maintenance or implementing safety notice guidance.

  • Support of the Health Boards emergency planning arrangements by providing quick and accurate location of key equipment in the event of an emergency situation.

  • Efficient use of clinical and technical staff time by not needing to scour departments looking for equipment.

  • Non-Cash releasing savings in Nurse time as a consequence of spending less time looking for equipment. “Good people can fail to meet patients’ needs when their working conditions do not provide them with the conditions for success.” Berwick D. (2013)



Part of Cohort Bevan Exemplar Projects 2015-16