Reuters reported this morning on the application of radio frequency identification device – RFID – tags as a tool to prevent surgeons from leaving sponges and instruments inside surgical patients. The technology is the same used by airlines to track luggage, freight companies to track containers and stores in the anti-theft devices. The eight patient study was conducted at the Stanford University School of Medicine using spnges developed by ClearCount Medical Solutions of Pittsburgh, PA. The Stanford study, published in this week’s Archives of Surgery, was funded by the National Institutes of Health and by a grant from the Small Business Innovation Research Program. In the study, all sponges in a temporarily closed surgical site were identified when a wand was passed over the patient.
The “SmartSponge” system benefits include:
– Passive: Non emitting tag and contains no battery
– Small: RFID tag is the size of a penny
– No line-of-sight required to detect sponges
– Can read multiple sponges simultaneously
– Can´t count the same sponge twice
Future Products: ClearCount is currently in development of a RFID based instrument tracking system.