Rigshospital the First Hospital in World to Pilot UHF RFID Tags for Tracking Surgical Instruments
Hospital uses UHF RFID tags for tracking surgical instruments and trays
Online PR News – 26-June-2013 – Xerafy, a global supplier of RFID metal tags, has teamed with Caretag, a
software and solution provider, to deliver traceability of surgical instruments and trays to a consortium of
hospitals led by Rigshospital Copenhagen.
Sponsored by the Danish government fund for innovation, Förnyelsesfonden, the pilot project is comprised of
hospitals and national health authorities including Rigshospital Copenhagen, Aarhus University Hospital,
Aalborg University Hospital, Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden and the University Hospital
in Lund, Sweden as well GS1 Denmark, the Danish health innovation society, and the Danish Medical
The projects goals are to RFID-enable sterilization centers at the instrument level to increase patient safety,
optimize logistics and storage of surgical instruments within hospitals, optimize workflow at central sterile
supply departments (CSSD) and surgical theaters, prevent the loss of instruments, free up time for better
treatment and improve service to patients. The project will also serve as a de facto proof of concept for using
RFID to comply with the forthcoming U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules for unique device
identification (UDI) in hospitals.
The healthcare industry is currently undergoing rapid adoption of RFID to track and manage assets in
hospitals. Previously, these applications were mainly centered on pharmaceutical tracking, sponges and
hospital asset management. However, instrument traceability using RFID is gaining attention as healthcare
practitioners seek to improve operational efficiency to provide high levels of service while keeping escalating
costs under control.
A key challenge for the Rigshospital project was finding an RFID tag that was small enough for use on
surgical instruments yet provided good read range around metals. Xerafy’s tags not only have the ability to be
embedded in surgical instruments and devices to eliminate patient safety risks and generate real time
visibility to every instruments reprocessing and use records, but can survive repeated autoclave and chemical
cleaning cycles as surgical trays and instruments move throughout the sterile processing and OR workflows.
“Prior to Xerafy, surgical instrument level tracking within the healthcare industry was limited either to
permanent laser marking which required line of sight or, at best, high frequency RFID tags, which required
close proximity to read and could not support multiple reads, making the process slow, labor intensive and
limited to basic track and trace,” said Michael Leibig, CEO of Caretag.
“Caretag’s asset tracking system is able to manage and track any type of equipment in a hospital,” said
Dennis Khoo, CEO of Xerafy. “From knowing where equipment in located to the numbers of instruments
currently in use or being cleaned, the system is able to collect and manage vast amounts of information that
hospital administrators and sterilization technicians can monitor.”
This project will have a profound effect in the healthcare industry as a whole and represents the first time that
all functions related to surgical instruments in a hospital, from the operating room to cleaning and storage, will
be tracked and traced through a single system.