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External RFID Chip Prevents Surgical Mistakes

In just another case of far too many unnecessary surgeries creating needless problems that conventional medicine can't so easily explain away, late last week the FDA approved an external surgical marker tag, utlizing radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, in hopes of minimizing the risks of surgical errors. Meaning the wrong site, procedure or patient.

The device, made by a Florida company, consists of the tag, which is a "smart" label with an integrated passive transponder, along with a printer, an encoder and a RFID reader.

How does it work? The patient's name and surgical site are printed on the tag. The inside of the tag is encoded with the date of surgery, type of procedure and name of surgeon. The tag is scanned with a desktop RFID reader for confirmation by the patient and is then placed in the patient's hospital file. On the day of surgery, the tag is removed from the file and scanned again, and the encoded information is verified by the patient. The tag, which has an adhesive backing, is then placed on the patient's body near the surgical site.

Why is the practice of conventional medicine in such disarray that technology like this is necessary? A study issued last year by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations reported that although medical professionals are focusing on avoiding mistakes, they still receive up to eight new reports on wrong-site surgery every month.

You may remember the FDA approved a variation of the RFID chip last month -- an injectable version inside the fatty part of one's arm -- so health providers could keep track a patient's medical records.

Albuquerque Tribune November 19, 2004

Medical News Today November 20, 2004

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