SmarTrak RFID and Laboratory Automation
It is critical to ensure that samples taken are; correctly labelled, shipped, received, handled and tested with results efficiently assigned and recorded, all in a timely manner. Normally this whole process is managed using a barcode system of labelling, with either localised scanning by Lab Admin staff, or a manual record being made at various stages.
The consequences of administrative errors being made can have serious implications for all parties concerned who are affected by the results.
Given the importance of accuracy and transparency in this whole Chain of Custody it makes absolute sense to consider ways in which automation can reduce and ultimately remove human error from impacting the whole process.
In recent years RFID technology has made great strides in two areas, improved performance and reducing hardware and label costs. Add to that the emergence of secure Cloud Hosting software, the viability of moving to a fully automated Sample Tracking and management system has increased greatly.
Chain of Custody automation
Definition – A set of traceable records that provide unbroken control over a document, raw data, or a sample and its containers from an initial collection to final disposal.
Laboratories that handle samples are bound by legal regulations, hence the requirement to keep detailed COC records for all the samples that move through their facilities.
Regulations concerning COC need answers to the following:
Location based (RFID) Management systems can provide a suitable framework to answer the above questions, especially when an element of Container tracking is included, via the Parent/Child tagging principle……MORE
Either a closed (recycled tags) or open (consumed tags) system to provide a clear Chain of Custody, which enables people to view where a sample is at all times, and that only authorised Personnel have handled the material. This is particularly useful when handling Forensic evidence, in preventing incorrect assessments being made, from mishandling or contamination.
Attaching and assigning an RFID Tag to a sample vessel is a critical step at the start of the process. All locations where samples originate from need to use the correct RFID Tags when labelling. There are a few options in how this can be best achieved. Such as, tagging the sample containers before they are issued or sending out the tags separately and allowing the Originator to attach the tag.
(these could be colour coded and have a QR code on them for phone scanning) Samples can be scanned before they leave the originating location.
The Tag can have pre-defined data stored on the Chip, and printed on the front. It may also be helpful to have different colours for different sample types, and a human readable QR or Barcode printed on which would enable a tag read with a smartphone.
Each Tag would contain a unique identification number. This could be in the form of a specially designed code.
Workers can carry RFID Badges, which can be read to identify which employee moved which sample
Sample movement data can be viewed in real time, and if any variances to the expected route the sample should be taking occur, the system can trigger alerts, both physical and virtual. For example if samples travel outside the confines of the building, a warning light or buzzer can be activated.
Whole cartloads of samples can be automatically scanned as they enter and leave selected readerPoints, thus assuring reliability of reported results.
As Ireland’s leading RFID integrated solutions Vendor, trading for 20 years providing secure technology across multiple market sectors, we have defined a systematic approach designed to deliver optimum results for our Client base.
This involves getting a thorough understanding of the local “As Is” processes and focusing on the Client’s key requirements, before advising on the “To be” solution.
The next step is to agree on a set of Proof of Concept deliverables with the Client, designed to show the benefits which would accrue if automation proceeds. This reduces the risk factor of investing into a new system without fully understanding if it will work.
With our own User Interface software, SmarTrak RFID we are in a position to quickly customise to suit a Clients needs, along with being Ireland’s only accredited Partner of the World’s leading RFID Equipment Supplier, Impinj and their RAIN RFID solutions.