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Balluff unveils new long-range RFID reader ••• Identiv, Dai Nippon Printing partner on UHF RFID tags for monitoring bridge cracks ••• Tönnjes RFID system identifies automobiles in Kenya ••• Telink Semiconductor releases updated BLE chip SDK for Apple HomeKit ••• Haldor RFID products count and track sponges, surgical instruments ••• Harting showcases Industry 4.0 solutions incorporating RFID.
By Rich Handley

Haldor RFID Products Count and Track Sponges, Surgical Instruments

The ORLocate system, from Haldor Advanced Technologies, a developer of radio frequency identification-enabled medical products and technologies, has been identified as the only RFID-based system currently available on the market for counting and tracking surgical instruments and sponges, according to a new medical research study.

The study's objective was to identify the impact of RFID technology on reducing retained surgical instruments (RSI) errors and improving patient safety. It was conducted by researchers from several prominent health-care and patient-safety organizations in the United States, including the Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care, the Center for Patient Safety, Harvard Medical School, and the Bouvé College of Health Sciences' School of Nursing at Northeastern University.

The study was published on Feb. 22, 2017, in the Journal of Patient Safety. The researchers stated that the use of RFID resulted in the rapid detection of RSI through body tissue, with high accuracy rates and reduced risk of counting errors and improved workflow. When comparing bar-code and RF technologies to RFID, the study found that bar-code scanners cannot serve as a solution for detecting RSI inside a patient because they are unable to read through skin. The report also noted that RF technology is similar to that within a metal detector, in that it can only detect the presence of an RF chip, but not provide specific identification of tagged items—nor can it detect multiple items at the same time, which RFID can accomplish.

Additional benefits identified in the study include higher accuracy of detection, eliminating false positives and false negatives, and read accuracy ranging from 98 percent to 100 percent of RFID-marked surgical items. According to the researchers, RFID technology minimizes human error through an automated process of tracking RSIs, as well as reducing time and effort used during counting protocols.

The costs associated with RFID have substantially decreased during the past few years, the study indicates, and the technology is now competitive with other existing systems. Utilizing RFID to identify specific surgical items decreases the risk of misidentifying surgical items. The technology provides the ability to count and track surgical items within a few seconds, including providing pertinent information about individual surgical instruments and reducing the incidence of RSI. The research notes that RFID is more reliable in some situations (such as tracking small applications or nonmetal based items), and is a safer and procedurally faster technology.

"Haldor's ORLocate RFID counting and tracking system was developed, first and foremost, with a patient-safety purpose and vision that would enable streamlining the counting and detection processes, helping to bring confidence to the OR setting (staff and patient), and reducing time and effort of clinical staff," said Ilan Kadosh-Tamari, Haldor's CEO, in a prepared statement.

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