Debunking RTLS Myths: Safe (and Helpful) to Wear

By Jeanne Ehinger, Marketing Manager, Midmark Corp.

Each year, scientists make new discoveries about the emission of radiation from electronic devices like smartphones and wearables, and the potential health risks they cause. These discoveries prompt questions about real-time locating system (RTLS) badges – are they safe to wear? Do they emit radiation?

This is a valid concern for staff and nurses who wear RTLS badges for the duration of their shifts. Let’s address it as we continue our blog series on Debunking RTLS Myths (if you missed it, here’s Myth #1: Debunking RTLS Myths: More Than Tracking.)


Myth #2: RTLS badges emit radiation and are not safe to wear.

Every RTLS vendor uses different combinations of technology to locate people and assets. Midmark RTLS uses a unique combination of infrared (IR) and radio frequency identification (RFID). Many people don’t realize that these technologies are quite commonly used in healthcare and in everyday life.

For example, IR is commonly used for non-invasive diagnostics such as thermography, CT scans and some MRIs. The IR signal transmitted by a Midmark RTLS badge is similar in duration and power to the IR signal transmitted by regular TV and DVD remote controls, which have been used for decades without negative effects.

Similarly, RFID is the same kind of energy emitted by radio and TV stations. It’s also used in the car key fob remote that you might use to unlock your car. In healthcare, cardiac monitors and other technologies use RFID, too.

RFID signals are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and Midmark RTLS badges and tags have been approved by the FCC for clinical operations. Staff and nurses can rest assured that there are no health or safety concerns due to IR or RFID while wearing RTLS badges. And, RTLS brings many benefits to clinical staff by helping with improved communication and time management.

Stay tuned as we debunk more RTLS myths in the weeks to come, here on the Midmark blog.