The system uses radio-frequency identification to help surgical teams reduce the number of items left in patients during operations.

ORLocate works by tagging each item used in surgery with a RFID identity and the tag is about the size of a small hearing aid battery.

The tagged instruments and sponges are detected via antennas located throughout the sterile field and a robust software application that continuously and automatically performs the counting.

ORLocate offers an additional platform for use in the Sterile Processing and Distribution Departments (SPD) that provides advanced tracking solutions for the lifecycle of surgical instruments.

The automated system focuses on preventing medical errors in surgical procedures that currently cost the US healthcare industry more than $2bn annually.

Haldor Jacob chief executive officer and president Poremba said that surgical teams must rely on manually counting surgical items to ensure that sponges and instruments are not left in patients and this leaves enough room for errors, causing large hospitals to experience about two to four cases annually of a surgical item left inside a patient after surgery.

“ORLocate provides at any time the initial counts and item additions, the number of items not located, the number of clean and soiled sponges, and the time of the last count. The comprehensive logistical and sterile inventory management capabilities enable the hospital to improve efficiency, while enhancing patient safety,” Poremba said.