How much would it cost to install a complete RFID system (active or passive) in a U.S. hospital?
There is no way to give you a specific number since every deployment is different. An active system is used to track mobile medical equipment, such as oxygen pumps, gurneys and so forth. Tags for these assets cost roughly $50 apiece. If you were to tag 1,000 assets, it would cost $50,000 for the tags. If you tagged 2,000 assets, the cost would double.
In addition, you would need to install a reader infrastructure. The number of readers would depend on the hospital's size and layout. If you had many floors and wings and a complex layout, it would cost more than for a few floors with an open layout. You also might need to pay seat licenses for the software that pinpoints these assets.
Passive tags are generally used on implantable devices (stents, pacemakers, heart valves and so on). The tags cost about 15 cents each. You could use a handheld reader (which would cost around $2,000) to perform an inventory count, or you could invest in smart cabinets, which would cost more but provide real-time inventory tracking. The tags are disposable, so as you used and replenished items, you would need to invest in additional tags. The overall cost would depend on the number of tags, readers and software seats required.
I hope that helps.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal