Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 3-2015


Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) technology is used by hospital supply chains to track various medical products and monitor inventories. To improve overall operations, hospitals have implemented RFID as part of their supply chain processes. Hospitals have also have begun incorporating RFID technology as part of their transfusion services processes. The purpose of this review was to analyze how healthcare organization supply chains can benefit from the utilization of RFID systems in transfusion services departments. The methodology for this study was a literature review following the steps of a systematic review with a total of 51 sources referenced.

RFID technology is being used to manage and track blood products from the initial donor phlebotomy to final disposition or product transfusion. Through RFID, transfusion departments and hospital supply chains have been able to manage blood samples and components to facilitate identification and transfusion of blood products to the correct patient. RFID-enabled transfusion practices have successfully increased provider productivity and product quality through work-reduction times and error reduction. A pilot study in one Iowa hospital system yielded a 3%-10% reduction in misidentification of patients and/or blood products during transfusion. A cost-benefit assessment reported showed a 5-year ROI of 2%, with an approximate pay-back period of four years. Cost of RFID tags can be 10-15 times more expensive than barcode systems. There are also risks of this technology involving privacy and the security of patient information.

Findings of this research study suggest that RFID has provided improvements in quality of care and efficiency, while initial costs, security and privacy appeared as principal barriers of adoption.


Health Informatics and Technology track. Archived MBAA conference programs are available at A slide presentation accompanying the conference paper is included as a supplemental file. The recommended citation for the slide presentation is: Cunningham, B., Willson, E., Meadows, P., Deslich, S., & Coustasse, A. (2015, March). Utilizing radio frequency identification technology to improve safety and management of blood bank supply chains [Presentation slides]. 2015 Business and Health Administration Association Annual Conference, at the 51st Annual Midwest Business Administration Association International Conference, Chicago, IL.