3D Virtual Modelling and RFID system

University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) was concerned to help staff orientate in a new environment and avoid difficulties arising from the unfamiliar building layout, particularly relevant to efficient patient care.

A system was needed for training in advance of relocation, as well as when buildings became operational. There was also a need for a means of helping patients and visitors move around in the new hospital and guide them, as effortlessly as possible, to relevant departments and wards. 

A further major requirement was to track equipment in the new environment, for both operational efficiency and clinical safety reasons. Optimum utilisation and availability of valuable 'assets' as varied as beds and wheelchairs, through to electrocardiograms and defibrillators - often urgently needed - was an area for which the University was required to explore using new technology.

Through a 12-month Knowledge-Based Partnership, devised collaboratively between the University’s health schools alongside Schools of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment, and relying upon the support of recent graduate Jeethan Koshy, a fully interactive 3D virtual model of the hospital was created to help staff familiarise themselves with the buildings’ layout. In addition, a real-time RFID (radio frequency identification) location system was created to monitor the whereabouts of valuable items of equipment.

It is precisely this kind of challenge we are equipped to meet. Our staff, resources, recent graduates, postgraduates and many talented undergraduate students are available to help industry and the public sector in such technological projects."

Parmjit Chima, Head of Engineering, Design and Manufacturing Systems


The 3D virtual model offers all internal and external audiences the opportunity to gain familiarity with the interior and exterior of the building, prior to going on-site. The interface is easy to use and requires no computer literacy - the user simply clicks into each floor to view the 3D plan. In addition to the obvious convenience and efficiency this facilitates, it provides a resource for 'scenario-based learning' for fire drills, major incident training and emergency cardiac team training.

The RFID equipment tracking system meets UHB's equipment control concerns. Apart from the identification of the whereabouts of valuable and important assets, it enables accurate inventory control, more efficient use of assets, reduces theft and loss, and underpins on-time equipment maintenance. It also helps reduce unnecessary capital investment in  - or rental of  - new equipment, and saves labour, thus adding to patient care.


  • 3D virtual model supported staff, visitor and patient familiarisation
  • 'Scenario-based learning’ made possible through the 3D virtual model
  • Equipment control concerns alleviated due to RFID tracking system
  • Patient care enhanced due to be better equipment monitoring
  • Capital investment in rental or new equipment purchases reduced.