New to RTLS? Start here.

By Jeanne Kraimer, Marketing Manager, Midmark Medical
February 20, 2020

When was the last time you couldn’t find something you really needed–like your keys, or your 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. Clinicians have a lot of things to keep track of every day, from the patients they treat, to the colleagues they collaborate with, to the equipment they use to deliver care. Think of the time wasted searching for equipment and people that could be devoted to patients.

What would patient care look like if clinicians had real-time visibility to the operations of their hospital, unit or clinic? What if administrators had the capability to analyze location data to understand 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.

  • Patient + Staff Badges: Patients and staff wear badges that communicate with ceiling-mounted sensors to determine real-time locations. Midmark RTLS badges emit infrared (IR) and radio frequency (RF) signals. Other real-time locating systems utilize Wi-Fi, Ultrasound or Bluetooth 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 tags that utilize IR and RF, or a combination of IR and Wi-Fi to provide both precise or general location data.  
  • Sensory Network: Wired or wireless 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 and provide intelligent prompts that keep care teams in sync—for example, which rooms are available, which units are running low on IV pumps, which stage of care patients are in.


The world of healthcare tech has quickly become saturated. RTLS stands out as a technology to truly improve organizational efficiency and communication across the health system, in both acute and ambulatory settings. If you’re looking to learn more about what RTLS can accomplish for your health system, check out our eBook “12 Reasons Why RTLS Makes Sense for Healthcare.”