06 Jul 2021 18 min


Last update 28 MAY 2024

Asset tracking solutions in hospitals

Navigine - Asset tracking solutions in hospitals
06 Jul 2021 18 min


Last update 28 MAY 2024

Due to the high cost of medical equipment, hospitals and medical institutions have to monitor carefully its location for preventing thefts and for ensuring permanent accessibility. The hospital tracking system allows monitoring equipment and materials in real-time.


There are three most obvious challenges for indoor positioning technology in healthcare, such as medical equipment tracking and control, security enhancement, and reducing waiting time for hospital visitors. Estimates indicate that hospitals will purchase from 10% to 20% more equipment than required due to a lot of cases of misplacing and losing this high-cost equipment. In fact, the cost per bed in hospitals has risen on 90% in the past 15 years to $3,144.2, and one of the reasons is those costly assets being regularly misplaced or left in disuse.

Navigation within a hospital could be tiring and confusing both for staff and patients. Indoor positioning technology provides a person with an individual guide and identifies the most appropriate route. Moreover, such a solution cuts waiting time, therefore, ensuring a better experience and higher confidence in the healthcare provider.

The last but not least problem which indoor navigation system could solve is control of physical access to various wings or offices. Managers can grant or restrict access on an individual basis, adding information to an employee’s keys in real-time.

What medical equipment can be tracked?

A medical equipment tracking system allows monitoring of various types of equipment according to company requirements. The objects that can be monitored include:

  • Wheelchairs
  • Infusion pumps
  • Patient monitors
  • Defibrillators
  • Ultrasound machines
  • Diagnostic visualization systems
  • Ventilators

Functions of the hospital asset tracking system

Large medical institutions regularly face an increasing number of patients especially at the height of Covid-19. They constantly require medical care so the staff does not always have time for searching the required medical equipment. In this case, healthcare asset tracking and navigation technologies become useful helpers in ensuring the proper work of a hospital. Thanks to them, it is possible to speed up work processes significantly.

Hospital positioning systems can perform various functions. The most significant are the following ones: healthcare asset tracking, building convenient routes to assets, getting analytical reports for work optimization.

Hospital asset tracking in real-time

The RTLS in healthcare system allows equipment monitoring, hospital wheelchair tracking, defining hospital bed occupancy, or the availability of free diagnostics machines.

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Thanks to using indoor tracking software and sensors, the hospital head office are always informed about the location of hospital assets and can timely react to emergencies, which makes it possible to quickly solve the emerging problems and prevent possible damage or thefts.

Building routes to the necessary equipment

Indoor positioning systems can assist in building the quickest and most convenient route to the required asset. The special app for hospitals is used for this purpose. Being installed in the staff’s smartphones, it gives access to interactive maps of the medical institution. The technology provides step-by-step navigation in real-time that allows getting to the equipment as soon as possible. Routes can be accompanied by a list of tasks for nurses and other hospital employees, which guarantees the optimal working load of the staff.

Vaccine tracking and monitoring the temperature mode in the building

Navigation sensors control the movement of drugs and compliance with the rules of storage. It is extremely important while using vaccines that require certain temperature modes. Sensors are installed in the rooms with drugs and constantly monitor the temperature and, in case of any deviations from the set values, send the corresponding notifications to the employees responsible for storing medicine. Moreover, the implementation of the system can help to track the usage of vaccines for the avoidance of their re-introduction.

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Getting analytical data on inventory and assets

Hospital tracking systems allow getting detailed analytical reports on equipment and material usage. It simplifies care for patients, increases the efficiency of the medical institution performance, and gives many other advantages:

  • On admission to the hospital, the staff can make sure that there is a free bed in the hospital. The bed tracking systems in hospitals reduce the waiting time and does not make doctors postpone the admission until beds are available.
  • The hospital tracking system helps to carry out the inventories of medication, equipment and make restocking. When the number of drugs decreases, the platform sends the notification with a warning on the lack of medicine.

Advantages of the system implementation

The deployment of the system for tracking hospital assets allows minimizing the number of situations when the equipment is unavailable. The technology implementation practically excludes the possibility of equipment theft and gives hospitals many advantages:

  • Increasing the medical staff efficiency;
  • Decreasing the cost of purchasing the stolen or lost equipment;
  • Possibility of timely medical waste management;
  • Improving resource management;
  • Monitoring the return on investment of assets;
  • Getting accurate information on using medical resources;
  • Reducing the waiting time for patients.

Technical realization of the hospital equipment tracking system

The hospital asset tracking system, as well as hospital wayfinding solutions, can be realized in several ways. RFID and iBeacon are considered the most effective ones.


RFID is a system of automatic object identification that functions using special tags. Tags are placed on hospital equipment and send radio signals with the information that is detected by special readers. The effective range is up to several hundred meters.

Learn more about RFID alternatives.


The iBeacon platform is based on Bluetooth® Low Energy technology. Special beacons, installed in hospital rooms, send Bluetooth® radio signals at determined intervals. Users’ smartphones detect these signals at a distance of up to 50 m and define the location with high accuracy. After that, the mobile app in the smartphone can react in some ways – build a route, display the relevant information, provide notifications, etc.

Navigine specializes in implementing the systems of tracking and indoor positioning into the hospital infrastructure. We offer effective solutions for navigation in healthcare that can ensure asset safety and accessibility at any moment.

UWB (Ultra-Wideband)

UWB is a wireless communication technology that provides high-precision location determination of objects – up to 30 cm. Equipment tracking is carried out using tags that emit radio pulses in a broad frequency spectrum. The system is characterized by interference resistance and high spectral flexibility.


A standard technology that helps locate equipment within a range of 3-5 meters. Wi-Fi is less accurate than Bluetooth Low Energy and UWB but is cost-effective as it allows the implementation of tracking systems based on existing infrastructure.

Asset tracking system deployment

The hospital asset tracking system requires a professional approach to deployment. Every little thing has to be considered – from the number of installed sensors, beacons, or tags to developing your own mobile application. The healthcare equipment tracking performance should be organized so that each hospital employee, having the relevant permission, has the access to information about medical assets via the Internet.

Using the mobile application ensures instant access to warehouse stocks and allows the staff to work outside the clinic. Healthcare asset tracking system will be particularly useful if tracking drugs or medical equipment is necessary.

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How to choose hospital asset tracking software

The right choice of healthcare asset tracking software is quite essential. The modern market offers many various solutions so while choosing the most suitable tool, a number of criteria have to be considered. First of all, identify the gaps in your work with assets by answering the following questions:

  • How high is the speed of your asset turnover?
  • How much do you spend on the recovery of lost or stolen equipment?
  • Does the patients’ waiting time increase if stationary equipment has to be used?
  • Does the forced equipment downtime have an impact on the staff performance?
  • Do you have situations when at the warehouse there are no drugs or consumables that are essential at the moment?

When you understand that the hospital tracking system will improve the performance of your clinic, you have to move to the next point – the main functions of the platform that exactly your hospital needs. The main ones are those that can be used for filling the gaps in your performance, such as tracking the equipment movement, and preventing thefts.

The final stage is searching and comparing the healthcare asset tracking software suppliers. Consider all possible variants, study the main products of different developers in the market, and identify their functions and opportunities. It is preferable that the platform be easy to use, can be integrated with other programs for healthcare, and operate based on such modern technologies as Bluetooth® or RFID.

Research Examples

In recent years, many international institutions and organizations have been studying the impact of indoor tracking systems on the operation of medical facilities. One such study is a techno-economic justification presented in the scientific journal BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making.

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