Wi-Fi, Active RFID Trying To Capture Healthcare Asset Management Markets

Market is wide open.

With less than 5% of North American health care facilities currently equipped with asset-management systems, this market, says ABI Research analyst Sara Shah, "is up for grabs."

"Wi-Fi location system vendors are focusing on healthcare," says Shah, "because most hospitals have Wi-Fi networks in place and many medical devices are Wi-Fi equipped for patient monitoring. The value proposition is that they can keep their existing infrastructure and add new elements." Wi-Fi location system vendors argue that their technology is standards-based and non-proprietary. On the other hand, RFID vendors point to the wide application of RFID for asset tracking, and their longevity in the industry, according to Shah.

Hospitals seem to face either over-inventory or under-utilization of assets due the complex nature of being able to track its large supply of equipment and machinery, says ABI Research. Therefore, both Wi-Fi and active RFID systems allow hospitals to know where their equipment is, nearly in real time.

Wi-Fi is a viable solution for hospitals but most hospitals will need to install extra access points because their networks weren't designed for this purpose. "The integration process can also be more difficult than many seem to believe," says Shah, "and requires extensive system configuration in order to determine accurate location."

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