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Respir Care. 2013 Dec;58(12):2069-75. doi: 10.4187/respcare.02545. Epub 2013 Jul 2.

Radio-frequency tracking of respiratory equipment: rationale and early experience at the Cleveland Clinic.

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  • 1Respiratory Institute, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Avenue, M56, Cleveland OH 44195.



When respiratory therapists (RTs) seek respiratory care equipment, finding it quickly is desirable, both to expedite patient care and to avert RTs wasting time. To optimize RTs' ability to quickly locate ventilators, we developed and implemented a radio-frequency identification (RFID) tagging system called eTrak.


The Clinical Engineering and Information Technology groups at Cleveland Clinic collaboratively developed a Wi-Fi-based RFID program that used active RFID tags. Altogether, 218 ventilators, 82 noninvasive ventilators, and various non-respiratory equipment were tagged, beginning in March 2010. We calculated the difference in time required to locate equipment before versus after implementation.


The eTrak system had a mean 145 log-ons per week over the first year of use, and was associated with a decreased time required for RTs to locate ventilators: median 18 min (range 1-45 min) versus 3 min (range 1-6 min) (P < .001). Surveys of RTs regarding whether equipment was hard to find before versus after implementing eTrak showed a non-significant trend toward improvement.


An RFID tracking system for respiratory equipment shortened the time to locate ventilators and non-significantly improved RT satisfaction with finding equipment. RFID tagging of equipment warrants further investigation.


RFID; equipment tracking; indoor tracking; radio-frequency identification; real-time locating systems

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