Review Article

Hospital Real-Time Location System (A Practical Approach in Healthcare): A Narrative Review Article


Background: The Hospital Real-time Location Systems (HRTLS), deal with monitoring the patients, medical staff and valuable medical equipment in emergency situations. Therefore, the study aimed to propose Hospital Real-Time Location Systems based on the novel technologies in Iran.

Methods: In this narrative-review, the articles and official reports on HRTLS, were gathered and analyzed from related textbooks and indexing sites with the defined keywords in English or Persian. The search of databases such as IDTechEx, IEEE, PubMed Central, Science Direct, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Scopus, Web of Science, Elsevier journals, WHO publications and Google Scholar was performed to reconfirm the efficiency of HRTLS from 2006 to 2017.

Results: Various technologies have been used in the current systems, which have led to the reduced error rate, costs and increased speed of providing the healthcare services. Applications of these systems include tracking of patient’s, medical staff and valuable medical assets. Besides, achieving the patient & staff satisfaction is among other basic applications of these Systems. The accurate data exchange and processes control are considered as positive aspects of this technology.

Conclusion: HRTLS has great importance in healthcare systems and its efficiency in medical centers is reliable; hence, it seems necessary to determine the organization’s requirements, apply novel technologies such as cloud computing and Internet of things, and integrate them to get access to maximum advantages in Iranian healthcare centers.



1. Malik A (2009). RTLS For Dummies. Wiley Publishing, Inc, Indianapolis, Indiana.
2. D'Souza I, Ma W, Notobartolo C (2011). Real-Time Location Systems for hospital emergency response. IT Professional,13(2):37-43.
3. Costs Tags-low H, High Medium (2009). Real Time Location Systems, Clarinox Technologies Pty Ltd.
4. Sepehri MM, Vahdat D, Mollabagher M (2011). Designing of business information needs system of patients with improved health care in the surgical process using RFID technology Ministry of Science, Research and Technology. Thesis: Payam Noor University of Tehran, 1. [In persian]
5. Hong JY, Suh EH, Kim SJ (2009). Context-aware systems: A literature review and classification. Expert Syst Appl,36(4):8509-22.
6. Ma XY, Yang K, Brayley K (2011). RTLS-based Ubiquitous Healthcare Management System Design and Implementation. White paper in RFID Journal.
7. Carrasco VN, Jackson SS (2010). Real time location systems and asset tracking: new horizons for hospitals. Biomed Instrum Technol, 44(4):318-323.
8. Boulos MNK, Anastasiou A, Bekiaris E, Panou M (2011). Geo-enabled technologies for independent living: examples from four European projects. Technol Disabil, 23(1):7-17.
9. Harrop P, Holland G, Das R (2017). RFID Knowledge base Case Studies.
10. Banchs A, Serrano P, Vollero L (2010). Providing service guarantees in 802.11e EDCA WLANs with legacy stations. IEEE Trans Mob Comput, 9(8):1057-1071.
11. Tzeng SF, Chen WH, Pai FY (2008). Evaluating the business value of RFID: Evidence from five case studies. Int J Prod Econ, 112(2):601-613.
12. Ilie-Zudor E, Kemény Z, Van Blommestein F et al (2011). A survey of applications and requirements of unique identification systems and RFID techniques. Comput Ind, 62(3):227-252.
13. Hsu CC, Chen JH (2011). A novel sensor-assisted RFID-based indoor tracking system for the elderly living alone. Sensors,11(11):10094-10113.
14. Kim SC, Jeong YS, Park SO (2013). RFID-based indoor location tracking to ensure the safety of the elderly in smart home environments. Pers Ubiquit Comput, 17(8):1699-1707.
15. Pope B (2017). PresCare Deploys AeroScout Wi-Fi RFID Solution for Patient Safety and Medical Alerting. Business Wire, A Berkshire Hathaway Company. -Fi-RFID-Solution-Patient
16. Bacheldor B (2007). Belgium hospital com-bines RFID, sensors to monitor heart patients. University Hospital of Ghent. RFID Journal.
17. Lewis P (2007). AeroScout Wins Innovative European Healthcare Project for Patient, Staff and Asset Tracking. Business Wire (a berkshire hathaway company). Innovative -European-Healthcare-Project-for-Patient-Staff-and-Asset-Tracking. html
18. Bacheldor B (2008). BlueTag Patient-Tracking Comes to North America. RFID Journal.
19. Manzoor A (2016). RFID applications in healthcare-state-of-the-art and future trends. Maximizing healthcare delivery and management through technology integration: IGI Global, 184-206.
20. Oztekin A, Pajouh FM, Delen D, Swim LK (2010). An RFID network design methodology for asset tracking in healthcare. Decis Support Syst, 49(1):100-109.
21. Alemdar H, Ersoy C (2010). Wireless sensor networks for healthcare: A survey. Com-puter Network, 54(15):2688-2710.
22. Vilamovska AM, Hatziandreu E, Schindler HR et al (2009). Study on the requirements and options for RFID application in healthcare. RAND technical report.
23. Mackenzie CF, Wang Y, Hu PF, Chen SY (2014). Automated prediction of early blood transfusion and mortality in trauma patients. J Trauma Acute Care Surg,76(6):1379–1385.
24. Delen D, Erraguntla M, Mayer RJ, Wu CN (2011). Better management of blood supply-chain with GIS-based analytics. Ann Oper Res,185(1):181-193.
25. Wessel R (2006). German Clinic Uses RFID to Track Blood. RFID Journal web news.
26. Sini E, Locatelli P, Restifo N, Torresani M (2009). Healthcare Professionals Identifi-cation at regional and local level: an RFID integrated scenario based on synergic ex-periences. Eur J Gen Pract, 1(6):39-49.
27. Pérez MM, Cabrero-Canosa M, Hermida JV et al (2012). Application of RFID Technology in Patient Tracking and Medication Traceability in Emergency Care. J Med Syst, 36(6):3983-93.
28. Wessel R (2006). German hospital expects RFID to eradicate drug errors. RFID Journal web news.
29. Wessel R (2007). RFID synergy at a Netherlands hospital. RFID Journal.
30. Aziz K, Tarapiah S, Ismail SH, Atalla S (2016). Smart real-time healthcare monitoring and tracking system using GSM/GPS technologies.
31. Van Oranje-Nassau C, Schindler HR, Valeri L, et al (2009). Study on the requierments and options for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) application in healthcare. RAND technical report.
32. Sensors Staff (2008). Hospital Uses AeroScout’s Visibility Solution Questex LLC. 275 Grove Street, Suite 2-130 Newton, MA 02466. Sensors Online.
33. Maximov V, Tabarovsky O (2013). Survey of Accuracy Improvement Approaches for Tightly Coupled ToA/IMU Personal Indoor Navigation System. International Conference on Indoor Positioning and Indoor Navigation, 28th-31th October 2013.
34. DecaWave (2017). LLC RTLS.
35. Yazici HJ (2014). An exploratory analysis of hospital perspectives on real time information requirements and perceived benefits of RFID technology for future adoption. Int J Inf Manage, 34(5):603-621.
36. Park N (2011). Secure UHF/HF dual-band RFID: strategic framework approaches and application solutions. International Conference on Computational Collective Intelligence, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg:488-496.
37. Armstrong S, Providence St (2009). Vincent Medical Center Implements Cardiovascular Unit Automatic Patient and Asset Tracking From Patient Care Technology Systems. Vice President Marketing.
38. Fisher JA, Monahan T (2012). Evaluation of Real-Time Location Systems in their hospital contexts. Int J Med Inform, 81(10):705-712.
39. Bourouis A, Feham M, Bouchachia A (2012). A new architecture of a ubiquitous health monitoring system: a prototype of cloud mobile health monitoring system.
40. Akiyama M (2014). Risk Management and Measuring Productivity with POAS (Point of Act System). World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering 2006, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 1(5): 326-330.
41. Hamitag (2014). Return on Investment on Ral-time Location System.
42. Boyd RW (2011). Location system for wireless local area network (WLAN) using RSSI and time difference of arrival (TDOA) processing. Patents Application publication. United States patent US No.7.
43. Real-Time Locating Systems (RTLS) Market worth 8.09 Billion USD by 2022.
44. Talebkhani R (2015). Smart Hospital, a new horizon in health care. Pars Hospital. [In persian]
45. Real Time Location System Market-Industry Analysis, Geography, Trends, Forecast 2017-2022 (2017). Mordor Intelligence. Available at:
46. Real-Time Locating Systems (RTLS) Market by Offering (Hardware, Software, and Service), Technology (RFID, Wi-Fi, UWB, BLE, Infrared), Application (Inventory & Asset-Tracking & Management), Vertical, and Geography-Global Forecast to 2022 (2016).
47. Bendavid Y (2013). RFID-enabled Real-Time Location System (RTLS) to improve hospital's operations management: An up-to-date typology. Int J RF Technol,5(3-4):137-158.
48. Yao W, Chu CH, Li Z (2012). The adoption and implementation of RFID technologies in healthcare: a literature review. J Med Syst, 36(6):3507-3525.
49. Najera P, Lopez J, Roman R (2011). Real-time location and inpatient care systems based on passive RFID. J NETW COMPUT Appl, 34(3):980-989.
50. Ajami S, Sarbaz M (2014). Necessity of Usage Mobile and Wireless Communication in hospital in disasters. Health Info Manag J, 6(11):40. [In persian]
51. Boulos MNK, Berry G (2012). Real-time locating systems (RTLS) in healthcare: a condensed primer. Int J Health Geogr,11:25.
IssueVol 48 No 4 (2019) QRcode
SectionReview Article(s)
Hospital real-time location system (HRTLS) Radio-frequency identification (RFID) Global posi-tioning system (GPS) Wi-Fi; Iran

Rights and permissions
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
How to Cite
GHOLAMHOSSEINI L, SADOUGHI F, SAFAEI A. Hospital Real-Time Location System (A Practical Approach in Healthcare): A Narrative Review Article. Iran J Public Health. 48(4):593-602.