According to an article in the Cincinnati Business Courier today, the RFID tags tested at Cardinal Healths warehouses in New York and Boston failed to meet the reads-per-second rate that the manufacturer promised. The accuracy of the reads was in the 96% to 98% range.
The technology is being used to help combat counterfeit drugs by improving the tracking of drugs. Columbus, Ohio-based Cardinal Health is one of the nations largest prescription drug distributors. The company expects RFID systems to yield long-term benefits, but offered that technical problems in the early stages need to be fixed before the technology can be utilized in the drug industry.
I'm no fan of barcodes at the bedside. There are many things that must be done right (orientation and indelible ink, to name two) to ensure that barcodes scan reliably. Stories abound of nurses having to scan barcodes several times to get a reading, in seemingly optimal situations. And that doesn't include scenarios like cutting the ID band off the patient's wrist and taking it to the reader because the barcode reader's cord is too short.
But the above idicates that more than cost may be holding RFID back from broad adoption.