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Aegis Sciences Corp. Manages Bio Samples More Efficiently With RFID

The forensic toxicology and health-care sciences testing lab is using a UHF RFID system to track the storage and processing of blood and tissue samples.
By Claire Swedberg
May 10, 2016

Aegis Sciences Corp., a forensic toxicology and health-care sciences laboratory, is employing an RFID-based solution to monitor the status of the blood and urine samples that it receives. Aegis operates four laboratories in Nashville, Tenn., which process samples for more than 2,500 clients daily, testing those samples for the presence of medications, opioids or other substances. Each sample, which must be stored at controlled temperatures, typically moves from one piece of equipment to another for testing purposes before the client receives the results. The labs typically contain 10,000 to 15,000 samples at any given time.

Moving the samples efficiently is critical, says Rob Case, Aegis' manager of process research and innovation. Many patients, for instance, are being tested for pain management, and are awaiting the testing results so that they can be prescribed the proper pain-relief medication.

Aegis' RFID team (left to right): Vikram Ghorpade, Rob Case and Nijyar Muhammet
Previously, Aegis Sciences Corp. tracked every sample that it tested via a bar-coded label and handwritten or manually inputted notes. Each sample's status was not automatically tracked, however, and scanning bar codes at every point at which each sample was processed or stored would have been unrealistic.

If a client called to learn a sample's status, Case explains, an Aegis client services representative would have to contact a laboratory manager, who would then have to walk through the lab looking for it. The lab manager would report its location to the service rep, who would provide that client with an update. This was a time-consuming process for the individuals involved in finding and updating that sample's status, he says.

The business is growing as well, Case reports, so tracking the samples has become increasingly challenging. In approximately 2010, Aegis Sciences Corp. began investigating the use of RFID to track the samples automatically. The company wanted to know where its samples were within the lab, Case explains, and to have a real-time snapshot of the facility. "We wanted to take it a step further," he states. "Instead of just tracking it in a section of the lab, we wanted to know what instrument it was on."

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