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By Rich Handley

Envigo Implements RFID-based Surgical Model Tracking System

Envigo, a provider of nonclinical contract research services and research models, has announced the implementation of a surgical model tracking system designed to enable critically required efficiencies while enhancing animal welfare. The system, which tracks both animals and surgeons, works by implanting RFID microchips in each surgically modified animal model, allowing Envigo to record real-time, accurate data on animals in surgery.

This system includes proper surgical information regarding animals' weights and dates of birth; surgical preparation; catheters and implants; analgesics and anaesthetics; length of surgery; post-operative care and recovery; and inventory and shipments. The major benefits for researchers, the company reports, are a reduction of the number of rodents used in research and improvements in surgery and study accuracy.

The technology is designed to limit human error by permanently identifying each rodent's status through all stages of the surgical process, and to provide Envigo with better access to inventory, effective metrics on particular aspects of surgical procedures, and a mechanism for ensuring that the right medications are taken at the proper time. Additionally, the system adds an extra layer of quality assurance, meaning customers can be sure the correct model has been supplied for surgical procedures. By creating a digital repository, the system streamlines the regulatory compliance challenges of existing electronic documentation approaches, including failure to compile required data.

"The innovative tracking system is the first software tracking system to be introduced into the surgical space," said Brad Gien, Envigo's head of surgery for North America, in a prepared statement. "The initiative forms part of our company's commitment to the '3Rs' strategy of animal testing—refine, reduce and replace. The technology refines surgical outcomes and animal health. In terms of efficiencies, our own studies have shown that the system is estimated to reduce the number of animals required for surgery and inventory."

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