Journal of Medical Systems

, 39:168 | Cite as

A RFID Specific Participatory Design Approach to Support Design and Implementation of Real-Time Location Systems in the Operating Room

  • A. C. P. Guédon
  • L. S. G. L. Wauben
  • D. F. de Korne
  • M. Overvelde
  • J. Dankelman
  • J. J. van den Dobbelsteen
Systems-Level Quality Improvement
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Systems-Level Quality Improvement


Information technology, such as real-time location (RTL) systems using Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) may contribute to overcome patient safety issues and high costs in healthcare. The aim of this work is to study if a RFID specific Participatory Design (PD) approach supports the design and the implementation of RTL systems in the Operating Room (OR). A RFID specific PD approach was used to design and implement two RFID based modules. The Device Module monitors the safety status of OR devices and the Patient Module tracks the patients’ locations during their hospital stay. The PD principles ‘multidisciplinary team’, ‘participation users (active involvement)’ and ‘early adopters’ were used to include users from the RFID company, the university and the hospital. The design and implementation process consisted of two ‘structured cycles’ (‘iterations’). The effectiveness of this approach was assessed by the acceptance in terms of level of use, continuity of the project and purchase. The Device Module included eight strategic and twelve tactical actions and the Patient Module included six strategic and twelve tactical actions. Both modules are now used on a daily basis and are purchased by the hospitals for continued use. The RFID specific PD approach was effective in guiding and supporting the design and implementation process of RFID technology in the OR. The multidisciplinary teams and their active participation provided insights in the social and the organizational context of the hospitals making it possible to better fit the technology to the hospitals’ (future) needs.


Real time location system RFID Operating room Workflow Participatory design Critical success factors 



The authors would like to thank DoubleSense B.V. for their cooperation for the development for the Device Module, Repoint B.V. for providing the RFID hardware for the Patient Module and J. Sluiman for the design of the graphical user interface of the Patient Module.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Role of the funding source

This work was supported by the “Provincie Zuid Holland”, Project ID: CRZH101005


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. C. P. Guédon
    • 1
  • L. S. G. L. Wauben
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. F. de Korne
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • M. Overvelde
    • 6
  • J. Dankelman
    • 1
  • J. J. van den Dobbelsteen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BioMechanical Engineering, Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials EngineeringDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Design Engineering, Faculty of Industrial Design EngineeringDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Rotterdam Eye Hospital, Rotterdam Ophthalmic InstituteRotterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Institute of Health Policy & ManagementErasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Singapore National Eye Centre, SingHealthSingaporeSingapore
  6. 6.Department of Clinical PhysicsReinier de Graaf GroepDelftThe Netherlands

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