Contact Advantech Search Shopping list
  1. 1-888-576-9668
  2. Login
Order By Part Number

The Rise of Real-Time Location Services in Healthcare

September 10, 2019

Real-time location services(rtls) in hospital system

Healthcare has always been and continues to be a vast and ever-changing field. We are constantly looking for ways to improve results, speed, efficacy, and patient satisfaction. In our modern age, this includes finding new ways to implement technology in the field of healthcare. One such technology that is increasingly used is Real Time Location Services (RTLS).

What are Real-Time Location Services?

A Real-Time Location System is a technology used to find the location of a designated target. The target could be anything that needs tracking; a vehicle, person, product, or equipment. It makes use of small remote tags, each with a unique ID, that can attach to the target and relay its location.

This technology is already in use in a wide array of fields, such as manufacturing, retail, defense, and several others. It has the potential to be valuable within the healthcare sector. The market for location systems in healthcare has been expanding for several years. A Real-Time Location Systems forecast entitled RTLS Market for Healthcare by Facility Type (Hospitals & Healthcare Facilities, Senior Living), Offering (Hardware, Software, Services), Technology (RFID, Wi-Fi, BLE, UWB, IR, Ultrasound), Application/Use case, and Geography - Global Forecast to 2023 estimates that the location systems market will grow from USD 976.1 million in 2017 to USD 2,941.2 million by 2023.


RTLS differs from Global Positioning Systems (GPS) in several ways. Major differences are accuracy and cost-effectiveness. GPS is a much more complex system in its integration and it requires more power than an RTLS. The small tags used in real-time systems use minimal power. Their size makes them much more efficient to use in a busy and moving facility. GPS systems also have the downfall of being unable to penetrate many types of construction materials.

The Many Uses of Locations Services in the Field of Healthcare

The potential uses of RTLS within the health industry are virtually innumerable. A huge benefit is it can provide more in-depth patient monitoring. This would allow caregivers to always know where their patients are. For example, dementia patients that wander off could be rapidly found.

Another use would be using this technology to track assets and equipment. Location systems can be used on important mobile medical equipment, helping to find and relocate it to wherever necessary. A simple misplaced or lost piece of equipment can be the difference between life and death in many cases. Using location systems could help cut down this risk.

Real-time systems also provide valuable insight when it comes to healthcare analytics. These systems collect data on personnel movement, time spent looking for equipment, time spent waiting, and others. These healthcare analytics would otherwise have to be compiled manually. These systems replace copious amounts of reports and monitoring. With real-time tracking, statistics and data collection can become automated.

Some people have expressed discomfort with the idea of tracking. It may not be the most pleasing idea to have someone always knowing your location. But, these systems can help health facilities deliver more satisfactory and efficient care. This is beneficial to both the patient and the providers. According to a study by Zebra Technologies called The Future of Healthcare: 2022 Hospital Vision Study, “Tracking patients – from admission to discharge, reducing the average length of stay by four hours, is the equivalent of increasing physical capacity by 10 beds.”

Integration of Location Systems

The initial adoption of location systems requires time and financial investment. Once implemented the benefits will far outweigh the costs. These systems can be easily integrated with any current IT configurations. Once installed, it is only a matter of time before your facility begins to operate more streamlined than ever.

Healthcare organizations who are incorporating this technology within their operations will be able to provide more efficient care for patients and more managed assets for staff. For example, Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas Hospital adopted location systems to decrease time spent locating equipment, decrease new equipment expenses, and improve patient care. In their first year, they saved $412,000 and used reporting and analytics to adequately increase the number of pumps needed to start patients IV. Because of the advancements of location technology, healthcare systems can become more efficient by adopting these real-time location services in their facilities.

Latest Article

Imaging Requirements for Medical Monitors and Displays

When communicating diagnoses and determining the best treatments for patients, the ability to produce quality imaging through the use of...


Go To Top  
Contact Us


8 am- 8 pm (EST) Mon-Fri

Contact Advantech