RFID chips are relatively inexpensive and basically this is a pretty simple technique to scan the surgery area to see if any material has inadvertently been left inside. RFID technology here sure makes easy work versus the manual process of counting sponges. RFID technology is finding it's way into many other areas of health care too, in helping hospitals just keep track of medical equipment, like stethoscopes that walk out the door all the time too. BD
ClearCount Medical Solutions, a Pittsburgh-based company focused on developing smarter solutions to improve patient safety inside the operating room, announced today that its patented SmartSponge™ System based on radio frequency identification (RFID) received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) clearance.
According to another study in Massachusetts, foreign objects were left in the body in one out of every 10,000 surgeries. Those objects added four days to an average hospital stay and resulted in 57 deaths in 2000. Two-thirds of all objects left in the body cavity were surgical sponges.
The SmartSponge System™ is the first of a family of products developed by Pittsburgh-based ClearCount Medical Solutions. The system is a revolutionary product that was designed to replace the antiquated method of manual counting using sponge counter bags. It consists of a handheld wand-scanning device used to detect commonly used surgical gauze sponges that have been fitted with a radiofrequency identification (RFID) chip approximately the size of a penny.
The ClearCount SmartSponge System is based on Radio Frequency Identification technology (RFID).
RFID systems are comprised of two basic components: a reader and tags which
are applied to the items to be tracked. RFID tags are tiny microchips that act as transponders listening for a radio signal sent by transceivers, or RFID scanners. When a transponder RFID chip sewn onto the sponge receives a certain radio query, the sponge responds with a unique ID code back to the scanner. RFID tags are powered by the radio signal from the scanner. These broadcast signals are designed to be read between a few inches and several feet away, depending on the size and power driving the RFID tags.
Source: ClearCount Medical Solutions