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RI Witness


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Page Views: 8663
Date Added: 25 February 2008
RI Witness
 

RI Witness ™ utilises RFID technology to track and record patient samples at each step of the IVF process as an essential safeguard and a reassurance to laboratory staff.

RI Witness ™ readers and touch screens are installed at every work area both inside and outside the laboratory where patients or patient samples are treated. Self-adhesive circular, square and rectangular RFID tags are available to fit containers such as Petri dishes or test tubes that will subsequently contain patient samples. These tags enable the readers to register that there are containers in the work area and through these tags a patient’s identity is monitored at every stage of the treatment. At the same time the system captures information regarding the cycle progress and operator actions. All information recorded by RI Witness ™ is sent to a common server for patient records.Monitors all work areas continuously

  • Records every procedure
  • Improves clinic and patient confidence
  • Highly configurable to individual requirements
  • Guards against sample identification errors and mismatches
  • Flexible - multiple unique dishes can be assigned to a patient at any point
  • RFID Technology – every ID is unique and cannot be misread

The RI Witness™ system monitors every instance when gametes or embryos are transferred from one container to the next and ensures that only one patient can be worked on at one time, safeguarding sample identity. If at any time, samples from incompatible patients are introduced into the same work area, RI Witness ™ warns the laboratory personnel both visually and audibly. Monitoring is constant, so an identity check can never be overlooked.

Finally, to safeguard the beginning and end of the cycle, RI Witness ™ card readers may be placed in treatment rooms. When the patient’s RFID card is placed in the card reader the system automatically displays the patient details to the embryologist in the laboratory, to verify that the identity of the female matches that of the eggs and embryos.

RI Witness ™ is highly configurable to a laboratory’s existing protocols and can be easily incorporated into daily routines without additional steps – monitoring is constant, integrated and secure.

RI Witness™ is part of the Elements™ suite of data system solutions available from Research Instruments Ltd.  It integrates seamlessly with RI Tracker™ for consumable traceability and RI Data TM for information capture. Combined, these products help facilitate smooth, efficient and secure processes in the modern laboratory.

Customer Testimonials

"The tags are very robust and every stage of the IVF process is continuously monitored and recorded in a patient log.  That is immensely reassuring for both patients and clinicians."

Jane Pritchard, CRMF Sheffield, UK

"I certainly feel that we are now doing absolutely everything that we can to satisfy our patients worries, and numerous patients have informed us that they feel better knowing that this safeguard, RI Witness™, is in place."

Shaun Kelly, Overlake Reproductive Health, USA 

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Additional photos

Heated integrated embryology work area

Circular RFID tag on Petri dish

Andrology work area
 

Average Visitor Rating:    4.79 (out of 5)
Number of Ratings: 9 Votes

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 Visitors reviews (1)
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Shaun Kelly, Laboratory Director



Shaun Kelly, Laboratory Director said on 25 February 2008

"IVF Witness – a personal view by Shaun Kelly, Laboratory Director at Overlake Reproductive Health in Bellevue, Seattle

When a patient comes into a fertility clinic and hands over a sperm sample or has eggs retrieved, they are putting a great deal of trust in the staff of the clinic. The truth of the matter is that no matter how professional the staff, or how good the reputation of the clinic, a lot of patients still have worries. Unfortunately, over the years the Press has shown that errors do occur on occasion, which only adds fuel to the concerns of the patients.

The IVF Witness System – the only system in the world that uses Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID) - can provide peace of mind to both patients and staff working in the clinic. It shows the patient that you are aware of their concerns and are taking steps to remove that extra worry by adding security to your laboratory.

Most laboratories have taken the time and the effort to put into place systems that address the need to have a strict chain of custody as far as sperm, eggs and embryos are concerned. They have also hired and trained competent staff members who are fully capable of maintaining the strict level of control needed when handling samples. These things are all very important, and should not be taken lightly. It is also important to understand that the IVF Witness System is not meant to take the place of such steps, but can only work in conjunction with them.

I first saw the IVF Witness System at an ASRM conference, and was interested - but not to the point of convincing my physician to make a purchase. I also had numerous discussions with other embryologists about it – and most of those discussions were negative.

A lot of people were worried that it would only be used because they were not being trusted, and many thought that it could be used as a device to ‘catch out’ staff members making a mistake. I feel that both of these worries are unfounded, as it still requires a large amount of care and attention to detail in order to maintain the integrity of the samples. Although the system will record mismatches and indicate which staff member made the mistake, it should be pointed out that it also indicates how many times a staff member does not make a mistake, and highlights the attention to detail that they are showing.

Many people also indicated that they thought it would send out a message to patients that the clinic was worried that they didn’t have enough safeguards in place to maintain the integrity of the samples, and that they were using the IVF Witness System to take the place of competent staff members. By talking with many of our patients after we introduced IVF Witness I think that this is an easy concern to address. I have only heard positive feedback from our patients when the system has been explained to them. We tell them that it is not being introduced because we have had any problems, but strictly as an extra level of security on our already secure system. Patients really seem to feel more relaxed knowing that we are using an electronic system to control the integrity of the samples, and they also like the fact that they have some control over what is happening as they introduce the card into the system and then again at the end when they have either their embryo transfer or their insemination. This has also proven especially useful in the case of new patients or patients from outside offices that have not yet had the chance to develop a good rapport with our staff.

Yet another concern was the amount of extra work that using the tags and the system in general would put onto staff members. Once the system has been installed and after a very short period of adjustment, there is very little extra work involved. The tags themselves are very easy to apply, and take very little extra time to put in place. The readers are situated in the work area, and so do not involve any extra steps for them to read the samples – just carrying out your work in the correct area of the laboratory sets the process in motion.

There is no keyboard involved; everything is done by touch screen, with just a few prompts that need to be followed to register each step of the process. These are very simple to understand, and in fact for the most part are set in place by the user. Also, these tags have been extensively tested and have been shown not to have any detrimental effects on embryo development.

My real push to get the system installed in our facility was from the patient satisfaction angle. I have heard over the years a large number of patients say that they are worried that their samples may get mixed up, and even though they can be reassured by outlining all the steps that we take to ensure that this doesn’t happen (double witnessing, not having more than one sample in the work area at a time etc) up until this system became available there has never been any concrete way of putting their minds at rest. I certainly feel that we are now doing absolutely everything that we can to satisfy our patients worries, and numerous patients have informed us that they feel better knowing that this safeguard is in place.

Each time an RFID tag is brought into the area of the reader, it is recognized by the system and its identity is displayed on the screen. This could either be an unknown tag or a previously allocated patient tag, which will indicate the identity of the item it is attached to (such as a sperm preparation tube or an embryo transfer dish). Once a patient tag is in the reader and an unknown tag is brought into the same work area, the identity of that tag can only be assigned to that specific patient, thus maintaining the integrity of the samples.

If a previously allocated tag is brought in from a different couple then the system will alert as such, and will not allow further action until the offending tags have been removed from the work area. In fact, you will not be able to carry out any other procedures until an explanation for the reason the mistake was made has been entered. The system will also register the amount of time that the ‘mismatched’ samples are in the work area together. This is useful to show that the samples were removed quickly, indicating that there was no time for a potential mix-up to occur.

Once the system has been installed in your facility you have to assign the various ‘witness points’ into the program. This is a totally customizable process which allows you to indicate at which steps of your procedures you want the system to allocate a dish or tube, when it needs to change the identity of a previously used dish or tube and will witness the introduction of sperm to eggs and track the movement of embryos from dish to dish.

All patients have to be entered into the IVF Witness program before they can proceed with treatment. Both parties of the couple are entered, and their identities are linked. By labeling all dishes and tubes with an RFID tag before they are first used, no item of culture ware can be used without being recognized by the system.

All procedures have an entry point at which the identity of the first item is allocated to the patient. That should be done in the presence of the patient, and can be by either an identity card that has already been allocated to the patient, or in the form of a tag that is designated to the male partner and stuck onto a sample pot. After that, all other items of culture ware derive their identity based on the identity of a subsequently allocated item.

All work stations have an RFID reader placed in them, and so every dish or tube is recognized by the IVF Witness program. When an unidentified tag comes into the reader at the same time as an already identified tag, then the only identity that it can be given is that of the identified tag. In that way we can only have dishes/tubes of one couple in the reader at any one time.

Other methods that clinics have employed to maintain a chain of custody for the samples can be troublesome. The manual double check system that some clinics use is open to a lot of difficulties, namely the fact that two members of staff are not always available, or if they are they could be too busy to pay close enough attention to make a proper and reliable witness. The bar code system relies on the samples being actually placed in front of a bar code reader which is not necessarily going to be in the same location as that in which the procedures are taking place. These dishes will then have to be taken back to the workstation without being mixed with other samples.

The RFID system has the readers actually built into the area where the procedures are taking place, and requires no actual deviation from normal laboratory procedures for them to be used.

I feel that this is much more flexible and appropriate for use in any size of IVF facility, and is a valuable tool to be used in conjunction with a competent staff manually witnessing samples themselves.

"

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