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Key figures discuss “extremely efficient” tracking and transport pod

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SamplePod help transport medical samples securely and safely

Key figures behind an “extremely efficient” transport and tracking pod for pathology samples have spoken to Health Tech World about addressing the issues of the current system.

SamplePod began its life as an innovation within Quality Hospital Solutions but was spun out as the scale and pace of the product developed.

The pod securely packs, transports and decants the full range of sample collection tubes. Holding up to 52 unique samples across multiple size combinations. Its apertures have been specifically engineered to utilise veins to create grip, even where slight variances in manufacture size of the collection tubes exists.

Location features at the corner of the base allows each pod to be stacked on top of one another, with samples always remaining upright during transportation, giving a better and more accurate yield.

A secure compartment is found within the lid, specially designed to hold up to four longer swab samples, with the product having been manufactured from 100% recyclable polypropylene.

David Frame, director of Sample Pod, said: “A pathology lab within the North East described the issues which they had, generating around 12,000 samples a day, 365 days a year through their laboratory.

“The process at this moment in time is the printer label. A label is put onto a blood specimen, the sample is then put into a plastic bag, that plastic bag is often put inside of another plastic bag and then all of those plastic bags go in a large carry bag, and that bag is collected three times a day from the primary care and taken to the pathology lab. So, it’s not environmentally friendly, its expensive and they don’t get the best yield from the specimen.

“The issue is trying to develop a rack for something dependable that has the ability to manage all of the different tube sizes. They do not know what volume of which size they are going to get. So, it must be entirely flexible, which had never been done before.

“That’s the beauty of SamplePod. Something which is so simple, yet actually contains all of the varying sample sizes.

“The problem itself exists everywhere within the NHS, and we have found a cost effective, environmentally friendly, extremely efficient and fully traceable solution that we can deliver. So, we want to get it out there and try to help as many trusts as we can.”

SamplePod tracks each sample by utilising unique flexible integrated circuits (FlexICs) developed by technology company PragmatIC. The circuits are embedded within the label, providing a unique digital identity for each sample.

Alastair Hanlon, chief commercial officer at PragmatIC, said: “We are really happy to be partnering on this project with SamplePod, providing the low-cost RFID solution that makes it possible to electronically tag every single sample that’s been put through the system.

“The key point about our technologies is that they are flexible. So, they work for very small environments and they are very low cost.

“We have gone from a position where the sample gets to the lab and they don’t know what’s coming in, to a position where we know exactly which sample has come in and which sample is in which sample pot.

“Looking ahead, we can see a world where our chips can do things like sense temperature changes, which could be important for these samples. Those kind of new chip innovations are very much things that we’re investing in.”

Frame added: “We’re looking to roll this out as quickly as we can across all of the NHS because the problem exists on various different scales.”

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