Supply costs account for more than one-third of the average operating budget and constitute the second largest expenditure in hospitals. As hospitals have sought to reduce these costs, radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology has emerged as a solution. This study reviews existing literature to gauge the recent and potential impact and direction of the implementation of RFID in the hospital supply chain to determine current benefits and barriers of adoption. Findings show that the application of RFID to medical equipment and supplies tracking has resulted in efficiency increases in hospitals with lower costs and increased service quality. RFID technology can reduce costs, improve patient safety, and improve supply chain management effectiveness by increasing the ability to track and locate equipment, as well as monitoring theft prevention, distribution management, and patient billing. Despite ongoing RFID implementation in the hospital supply chain, barriers to widespread and rapid adoption include significant total expenditures, unclear return on investment, and competition with other strategic imperatives.
Coustasse, A., Tomblin, S., & Slack, C. (2013). Impact of Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) Technologies on the Hospital Supply Chain: A Literature Review. Perspectives in Health Information Management, 10(Fall).