New to RTLS? Start here.

Jeanne Kraimer


February 20, 2020


When was the last time you couldn’t find something you really needed–like your keys or wallet? How long did you spend searching? Did it distract you from accomplishing other things with your day?

Not being able to find what (or who) you’re looking for can be extremely frustrating, and even more, it can be a significant waste of time. Now think about the same situation in a healthcare context. Clinical staff are tasked to do more with less. From treating patients in a timely manner, to collaborating with colleagues, to hunting down equipment needed to deliver care. There is no time to waste searching for medical equipment or people that could otherwise be devoted to patients.

What would patient care look like if care teams had real-time visibility to the operations of their hospital, unit or clinic? What if administrators could analyze location data to gain insight from the movements of staff, patients and equipment? It would result in major improvements in efficiency and communication, and ultimately a better patient experience. All of this is possible with the power of a real-time locating system (RTLS).

How does RTLS work? RTLS combines badges, tags, sensors and software to communicate location data.

  • Sensory Network: Wired, battery-powered or plug-in sensors throughout the facility communicate with badges and tags to send location data to the software. 
  • Software Solutions: Location data can be displayed in real time to provide simple, yet powerful visibility to who and what is where. Additionally, software can process the location data for healthcare KPIs and provide intelligent prompts that keep care teams in sync—for example, which rooms are available, which units are running low on IV pumps or which stage of care patients are in.
  • Patient + Staff Badges: Patients and staff wear badges that communicate with ceiling-mounted or plug-in sensors throughout the facility to determine real-time locations. Midmark RTLS badges emit infrared (IR) and radio frequency (RF) signals. Other real-time locating systems utilize Wi-Fi or Ultrasound signals, or use IR in an inverse manner, with badges receiving location signals from ceiling-mounted beacons.
  • Asset Tags: These are just like badges, but for mobile equipment (e.g., IV pumps, ECGs, wheelchairs). Midmark RTLS offers asset tracking tags that utilize IR and RF or a combination of IR and Wi-Fi to provide both precise or general location data.

Why RTLS? The world of healthcare tech continues to evolve. RTLS stands out as a technology to truly improve organizational efficiency and collaboration across the health system, in both acute and ambulatory settings. Learn more about our solutions to see what RTLS can help accomplish in your healthcare system.