RFID Vs BLE: Tracking Your Healthcare Assets With Peak-Ryzex
Tracking multiple assets across a site can be a challenge at the best of times, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep losing sight of important hardware and devices so often. That’s where asset location technologies such as RFID and BLE come in – a simple and potentially cost-effective system involving tags and readers.
RFID vs BLE: How do they differ?
RFID – RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a form of asset tracking that uses battery-free tags with thin microchips and high-energy readers. Sometimes referred to as ‘Passive RFID’, these tags and readers are usually used in a retail environment or in settings such as library where tags can be scanned when a customer passes through a gate or ‘chokepoint’.
The accuracy of an RFID is usually very high in a smaller or confined setting, but it’s often limited in range. It’s also quite cost effective from a long-term perspective as these battery-less tags are often very affordable and tend to last forever. However, RFID readers can be more of an investment, especially if you want real-time updates throughout a busy hospital complex with multiple units.
BLE – BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) operates on the same principle as RFID but involves using battery-powered tags that actively send out a signal. Otherwise known as ‘Active RFID’, BLE enables you to cover an area with less readers, making it much better for scaling to a larger setting. However, to scale it’s important to consider that BLE beacons are more expensive than RFID tags, and you’ll need multiple readers in optimum positions if you’re tracking assets through a more expansive setting.
Healthcare applications: At-A-Glance
BLE and RFID are relatively similar in concept but tend to suit rather different environments. For a small-scale healthcare setting (such as a surgery or drop-in centre) RFID is the better choice, while the scaling and accuracy of BLE lends itself to the larger sites of a modern hospital. Both technologies enable you to better manage your teams and resources by saving time and reducing costs. Here’s an at-a-glance breakdown of either solution’s application in your healthcare organisation:
Demand capture – Hospitals can track medicines, syringes and other stock to maintain compliance.
Stock maintenance and replenishment – RFID tags are inexpensive, so large amounts of stock can be individually tracked and replenished when low.
Cost saving – Reduce the loss of everything from medicines to hospital beds by tracking their movements.
Patient safety and wellbeing – Being able to track important and potentially life-saving equipment in real-time ensures hospital staff are always able to utilise them.
- Saving time and resources – Reduce the time wasted tracking healthcare assets across your site(s).
Patient and staff tracking – When a specialist is needed, BLE can be used to ping their location. Meanwhile, tags can be used to track patient movements to maintain their safety.
Peak-Ryzex is a globally recognised name in end-to-end mobility solutions. We have years of experience delivering the very best BLE and RFID infrastructures through partners such as Mist Systems and Extreme Networks, so contact one of our experts today or browse the many options in our webstore to find out how we can help support your organisation with a healthcare-focused mobility package.