Technology Overview

The ClearCount Platform uses a small, passive Radiofrequency Identification (RFID) tag securely embedded in each sponge to provide superior safety and efficiency. Unlike other tagging technologies, RFID provides unique numbering and does not require a line-of-sight reader.

The ClearCount Platform offers the accuracy and efficiency of RFID in a simple and user-friendly interface. With the SmartSponge Flex and SmartSponge System, sponges are scanned in by simply swiping each unopened pack to the In-Scanner. In seconds, the data on each sponge is validated and the inventory counts are updated instantly on the screen. With the SmartWand-DTX, sponge counts can be verified through a scan over sponge packs.

As sponges are used and discarded into the SmartSponge Flex and SmartSponge System, the sponges are automatically scanned out. With the SmartWand-DTX, out-counts can be verified with a scan of the wand over the soiled sponges. There is no need to separate sponges – the System will simultaneously count them regardless of the type or quantity disposed.

At any point in the surgery, the SmartWand™ may be used to perform a patient scan or scan of the surgical area. Convenient LEDs on the handle, as well as audible and visual indicators on the console, will alert the user if any sponges are detected during the scan.

Whether accounting for sponges with the System or scanning with the SmartWand, each sponge’s passive tag contains digital information which eliminate false positives – only ClearCount SmartSponge tags will be counted and displayed by the System.

Watch How the System Works

About RFID

RFID systems are comprised of two basic components: a reader and tags which are applied to the items to be tracked. RFID tags contain tiny microchips that include digital information about the items being tracked. Passive RFID tags, such as those used in ClearCount products, contain no battery and do not transmit any information until they are within the activation distance from the RFID reader’s antenna. Passive RFID tags are designed to be read between a few inches and several feet away, depending on the size and power driving the RFID system.

RFID is a proven and safe technology and has been used for the past 20 years in applications such as toll booths, building access and micropayments. RFID systems use standard, internationally accepted protocols for communicating data and eliminating any errors that may occur between reader and tags. RFID medical devices are subject to electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) testing as required by FDA and FCC. ClearCount products have successfully passed all testing required to ensure compatibility.

Benefits of RFID include:

  • No line-of-sight required to detect sponges.
  • Small: RFID tag is smaller than the size of a dime.
  • Can count & differentiate multiple sponges simultaneously.
  • Will not count the same sponge twice.
  • Passive tags contain no battery; no shelf-life concerns.

Technology Comparison

RFID Bar-Code EAS (RF)
  • Sponge Counting, Detection and Electronic Records System.
  • Utilizes small, passive RFID tags embedded in surgical sponges.
  • Tags contain tiny microchips and no battery.
  • Tags do not transmit any digital information until they are within a predetermined range of the reader’s antenna.
  • Once scanned in, data from each sponge is validated and displayed on monitor.
  • Sponges are automatically scanned out when discarded into plastic lined receptacle.
  • Hand-held wand equipped with LEDs, and audible and visual indicators on the receptacle alert user of detected sponge(s) in case of patient scan.
  • Sponge Counting and Documentation System.
  • Utilizes sponges labeled with individual serial numbers embedded in a data matrix bar code.
  • Bar codes are scanned by a reader to record codes during counts.
  • Sponge Detection System.
  • Utilizes surgical sponges and gauze tagged with an RF sensor.
  • Non-Identification based tags.
  • Uses disposable wand to detect tag frequency in the event of patient scan case.
Pre Surgery
  • Enables manufacturers to verify the correct number of sponges in packaging.
  • Reduces the chance of miscounts.
  • Minimizes time spent on defective packs.
  • Requires line-of-sight to be scanned by reader.
  • Not suitable for validating the number of items in a sealed package.
  • Does not transmit unique identifiers when scanned.
  • Not suitable for validating the number of items in a sealed package.
In Count
  • Enables the system to confirm that all tags in a pack of sponges are functional.
  • The system reads and records a unique identification number for each sponge.
  • Verifies the proper quantity of items in the pack.
  • All validation steps are performed within one second of presenting a pack of sponges to the device regardless of orientation.
  • Starting inventory is highly reliable.
  • The system meets and exceeds AORN guidelines.
  • Utilizes a master tag scan to speed up the in count process.
  • The master tag is printed on a band wrapped around a number of surgical sponges.
  • Relies on an assumed count as starting inventory since individual sponges are not scanned.
  • The functionality of each barcode is not checked prior to surgery.
  • Provides no method for counting sponges into surgery.
  • Does not offer verification of tag functionality prior to surgery.
  • No data is transmitted from EAS tags.
Out Count
  • The system counts any number of sponges discarded in receptacle regardless of orientation.
  • Provides a 1 to 1 reconciliation by matching unique ID numbers to “count in” sponges.
  • Device performs an inventory of receptacle 8X per second, averaging over 80,000 inventory counts per procedure.
  • Reduces chance of miscount.
  • No separation or orientation of sponges required.
  • Fully supportive / compatible with sponge bags.
  • Sponges are counted out of the procedure manually, one at a time.
  • The barcode must be wiped clean and oriented properly with the line-of-sight reader.
  • Multiple (redundant) reads are not part of the barcode process.
  • Results in a more labor intensive count than manual counting.
  • Clinically proven to increase count time and miscounts.
  • Provides no method for counting sponges out of a surgical procedure.
Scanning, Detection
  • Provides a two part patient scanning solution consisting of the SmartWand-DTX™ working in conjunction with a SmartTag™.
  • Feedback that the SmartWand is functional and reading through the patient provides optimal safety.
  • When items are detected, the quantity and description of items are displayed.
  • Faster and more cost-effective than the current practice of X-Ray detection and there is no interpretation required.
  • Provides no method for scanning the patient in the event of a non-
  • Not capable of providing users with feedback of wand functionality or read range.
  • When items are detected, EAS technology is not capable of identifying the quantity or type.
  • The SmartSponge System software enforces 100% compliance by requiring that counts are reconciled before a case can be ended.
  • An Administrator-level override is required if a case must be ended with an unreconciled count.
  • Reduces risk of ending surgery with a retained sponge.
  • Enforces standardized sponge counting practices.
  • Provides no method for ensuring counts are reconciled before the case is ended.
  • Provides no method for ensuring counts are reconciled before the case is ended.