Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in Health Care: Privacy and Security Concerns Limiting Adoption

  • Benjamin P. Rosenbaum
Research Article


Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology has been implemented in a wide variety of industries. Health care is no exception. This article explores implementations and limitations of RFID in several health care domains: authentication, medication safety, patient tracking, and blood transfusion medicine. Each domain has seen increasing utilization of unique applications of RFID technology. Given the importance of protecting patient and data privacy, potential privacy and security concerns in each domain are discussed. Such concerns, some of which are inherent to existing RFID hardware and software technology, may limit ubiquitous adoption. In addition, an apparent lack of security standards within the RFID domain and specifically health care may also hinder the growth and utility of RFID within health care for the foreseeable future. Safeguarding the privacy of patient data may be the most important obstacle to overcome to allow the health care industry to take advantage of the numerous benefits RFID technology affords.


Authentication Medication safety Patient tracking Blood transfusion medicine HIPAA 


Conflict of Interest

The author confirms he has no conflicts to report.

Financial Support and Industry Affiliations

The author reports no personal or institutional financial interest in medications, materials, or devices described in the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical EpidemiologyOregon Health & Science UniversityPortlandUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgeryNeurological Institute, Cleveland ClinicClevelandUSA

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