13,500 Patients Tracked Annually in 19 Operating Rooms
  • 13,500 Patients Tracked Annually in 19 Operating Rooms
  • 13,500 Patients Tracked Annually in 19 Operating Rooms
  • 13,500 Patients Tracked Annually in 19 Operating Rooms
  • 13,500 Patients Tracked Annually in 19 Operating Rooms
  • 13,500 Patients Tracked Annually in 19 Operating Rooms
  • 13,500 Patients Tracked Annually in 19 Operating Rooms
Surgical Area

13,500 Patients Tracked Annually in 19 Operating Rooms

The Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto, Canada, uses RFID in the operating rooms and patient care.

All surgical patients are tracked via unique UHF RFID ID. This minimizes waiting times and loss of time, and relatives in the waiting area are automatically informed about the time status of the operation.

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center provides care for approximately 1.3 million patients per year at three locations. The hospital operates the largest trauma center in Canada.

Process Requirements

The surgery scheduling for around 13,500 patients who underwent outpatient or inpatient surgery each year was documented by clinic staff in handwritten form. The manual documentation could not be done in real-time. The distribution of the operating rooms over different floors posed an additional challenge for the planning of operations and patient tracking. As a result, there were delays in planned surgical procedures.

With up to 19 operations and OR preparations taking place simultaneously, as well as the subsequent awakening phase of the patients, the time required for personal communication with relatives was high.


  • Tracking of patient movement in the OR environment, during OR preparation, in the operating room, and recovery area
  • Avoidance of waiting times and delays of planned operations
  • Automatic real-time information to relatives about patient status


UHF RFID readers and antennas were integrated in the areas surrounding the operating rooms - OR preparation, recovery rooms as well as Surgical Short Stay - and in the transitions to a total of 19 operating rooms on different floors. p>

Instead of equipping the patient with an RFID wristband, two transponders are located on each of the file covers of the patient file. When using wristbands, there would be a risk that the arm would be under the patient's body. It is then difficult to detect the transponder. Additionally, the patient file is always transported together with the patient in the hospital.

In order to achieve optimum recording results, two UHF RFID labels are attached to the file covers in horizontal and vertical alignment. The labels are printed with a serial number. Confusion with adhesive strips and subsequent removal is avoided.

For emergency patients who enter the OR without a patient file, the identification is carried out via a Plexiglas plate with two transponders, attached to the clipboard of the bed.

If a patient leaves the operating area, the file covers are placed in special containers and then prepared for reuse. If they are not returned despite a patient discharge note, an alarm signal is given at the exits.

The UHF RFID antennas are integrated vertically and horizontally in walls and ceilings. This alignment enables the exact detection of the transponders on the file covers. A stainless steel frame protects the antennas against damage.

The anonymous patient ID number stored in the transponders is given to relatives. On monitors in the waiting area, surgical updates for each ID are displayed in real-time – similar to a departure board.

Technology Partner

Hardware & Software


  • Automated reporting
  • Optimization of personnel planning and control of patient flow
  • Planning and coordination of 13,500 operations per year is improved
  • Discharge of the OR-employees
  • Relatives are automatically informed in real-time about the course of the operation
  • Avoidance of overcapacity in the operating rooms

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