Overlake Reproductive Health was the first U.S. clinic to incorporate radio frequency identification (RFID) security tagging into its workflows. The technology has already been proven in Europe, and review of such a system is required for all clinics by the English Government’s Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA).
The lab procedures involved in a modern fertility clinic are intricate and require a high level of technical expertise. The identity of the partners must be maintained throughout the entire process. As an added layer to security, we have incorporated RFID technology into our practice. Through the use of RFID we can now secure a digital patient ID to all the samples used in the laboratory. This digital ID is first verified by the patient when it is assigned and then it is tracked every step along the way. Giving both patients, and our staff peace of mind.
What does RFID stand for?
Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a technology primarily used to identify and/or track objects. From employee ID cards and room keys to automated road tolling systems, the technology has seen a wide adoption since its birth and is now the basis of a multi-billion dollar industry. The tags used our procedures are known as passive RFID tags because they are powered passively through the radio energy of the reader.
Are RFID tags safe to use?
Yes! The technology has been approved for use in fertility treatments in the USA and Europe.
The RI Witness System
Developed by Research Instruments, the RI Witness system has been specifically designed for the fertility clinic. It guards every step of the IVF and IUI procedures to protect the integrity of the sperm and/or egg while streamlining the IVF or IUI process. Every workstation in the lab is equipped with a RFID reader which constantly monitors the identity of any samples in the work area. This ensures that the sperm and egg(s) are tracked throughout the process, guaranteeing that the resulting embryo or sperm is transferred to the correct patient. If at any time the wrong sample is introduced into the work area, the system warns the ORH laboratory personnel both visually and audibly. Virtually eliminating the chances of a sample mismatch.
How the RI Witness system works during a cycle
- The patient and their partner (if applicable) are entered into the system and their accounts linked together. Only samples from linked accounts may exist in one workstation without creating audible and visual alarms warning the technician of an ID mismatch.
- The “Entry Point” ID card or sample cup is electronically tagged and the correct ID is verified by the patient. Once assigned, this ID cannot be changed and will be transferred to all subsequent dishware used during the procedures.
- During the procedure, any required tubes or dishes will be assigned separate tags with the original patient ID. This maintains the chain of custody through the process. Every tag and action is time stamped and the resulting record is stored in the system and the records cannot be changed.
- Error checking. The system generates both an audio and a visual alarm if an unlinked sample were to enter the work area. This proactively warns technicians of a potential mismatch situation before it can happen.
- The system will confirm the identity of both samples before allowing the embryologists to proceed with insemination.
- Before the final sample is transferred, it’s ID is once again verified by the patient.
Learn More About RFID Tagging
Here is some helpful information about our Electronic Security Tagging system: