Omnia Health is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Healthcare asset tracking makes transformative impact on patient safety and operations

Article-Healthcare asset tracking makes transformative impact on patient safety and operations

CanvaPro Health asset track.png
The integration of asset tracking systems in healthcare is more than a logistical enhancement — it is a crucial component in the overarching framework of patient safety.

In healthcare facilities, ensuring patient safety is a top priority. A significant but frequently overlooked aspect of this is the management of medical equipment and the repercussions mismanagement can have. This article investigates how purposeful and highly optimised asset tracking extends beyond simple logistical roles to become integral to improving patient care and safety, as well as many additional benefits to healthcare organisations.

The vital role of asset tracking in healthcare

Asset tracking in healthcare entails sophisticated technological systems to oversee the precise location, operational status, and readiness of medical apparatus. This includes a spectrum of instruments from rudimentary tools like scalpels and syringes to critical, life-sustaining devices such as ventilators and defibrillators. The overarching objective is to guarantee that essential equipment is readily accessible, in optimal working condition, and safe for use whenever required. So, what are the primary benefits healthcare organisations can expect to receive through optimised and organised asset tracking?

Assistance with managing continuous budgetary constraints

The NHS, like many healthcare systems, faces escalating costs driven by an ageing population, the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, and rising prices of medical technologies. In this environment, finding areas where operational efficiencies can be enhanced without compromising patient care is paramount. Asset tracking systems stand out as a solution that can deliver substantial cost savings while simultaneously boosting the quality of care.

Lost or mismanaged assets represent a substantial financial drain for healthcare organisations. A study conducted by Nursing Times revealed that the NHS could save up to £1 billion annually through better management of medical equipment. Misplaced items not only need to be replaced, costing healthcare providers considerable sums, but also lead to operational inefficiencies and increased expenditures on urgent replacements and rentals.

For example, an audit in an NHS trust identified that approximately 10 per cent of assets were lost or stolen, leading to unnecessary and repetitive capital expenditure that could have been avoided with robust asset tracking protocols. Furthermore, a report by the Department of Health estimated that the NHS spends around £300 million each year just on locating and maintaining equipment — a sum that could be markedly reduced through improved tracking systems.

Asset tracking technologies such as RFID and IoT-enabled devices provide real-time data on the location, status, and maintenance needs of medical equipment. This capability not only ensures that medical devices are used efficiently but also extends their lifespan through timely maintenance, thus deferring the need for costly replacements. For instance, automated alerts about service requirements and usage patterns help manage device wear and tear proactively.

Enhancing patient safety through reliable equipment management

Optimal functioning of medical equipment, crucial for patient safety, necessitates meticulous maintenance and regular updates. Asset tracking systems play a critical role by automatically notifying healthcare staff when equipment needs servicing or replacement, thereby mitigating risks of malfunctions that could compromise patient health.

The integration of RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology, for example, facilitates real-time surveillance of device conditions and operational patterns. This proactive stance not only prolongs the lifecycle of medical instruments but also ensures their reliability in exigent clinical scenarios, according to studies published in journals like Healthcare Management Science. This advanced approach supports healthcare facilities in maintaining continuous operational readiness and enhances the overall safety environment.

Reducing errors in surgical settings

Surgical accuracy hinges critically on the availability and readiness of sterile instruments. Advanced asset tracking systems ensure this by meticulously overseeing sterilisation processes and tool readiness, significantly lowering the risk of infections and procedural anomalies.

According to research conducted at a Boston hospital, the deployment of an automated tracking system reduced delays related to surgical instruments by 35 per cent. This decrease in delays is instrumental in minimising risks associated with prolonged waiting periods and errors in instrument setup. Further, these technologies enhance operational efficiencies, allowing surgical teams to focus more on patient care rather than logistical concerns, thereby elevating the overall safety and success rates of surgical procedures.

Optimising emergency response with precision asset tracking

In emergencies, the swift availability of operational medical equipment is vital. Asset tracking systems enhance hospital emergency responses by facilitating the rapid location and deployment of necessary equipment. For instance, in cardiac emergencies, the prompt availability of a functional defibrillator can be lifesaving. Asset tracking ensures these critical devices are not only immediately accessible but maintained in optimal condition, thus crucially impacting life-saving interventions, and improving survival rates during critical care situations. This efficiency in equipment management directly correlates with improved patient outcomes in emergency scenarios.


The integration of asset tracking systems in healthcare is more than a logistical enhancement —it is a crucial component in the overarching framework of patient safety. By ensuring that medical equipment is functional, properly sterilised, and available when needed, these systems directly contribute to reducing medical errors and enhancing patient care outcomes.

As technology advances and the adoption of smart healthcare solutions expands, asset tracking will continue to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of patient safety in healthcare settings. Embracing these technologies not only supports clinical staff in their daily responsibilities but also safeguards the well-being of patients, ultimately fostering a safer and more efficient healthcare environment.

Charlie Green, Senior Research Analyst

Charlie Green is the Senior Research Analyst at Comparesoft.

Back to Technology

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.