News and Events

South African National Blood Service Approves Safety of SpaceCode’s RFID With Blood Products

Verrières Le Buisson, France – December 20th, 2015

In a significant healthcare development, the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) has approved SpaceCode’s RFID technology with blood and blood products for human use. The SANBS provides an essential service within South Africa and is rated among the world’s best in the provision of blood and blood products, and in research and training.


RFID technology, with its automated real-time product verification and visibility, is a proven success story in blood banking and transfusion medicine. Safety and efficacy have always been top priorities and the technology has been evaluated in various settings. Research indicates that low-frequency (LF) tags have the advantage of working well in the presence of obstacles such as liquid, metal, etc. High-frequency beams are not very tolerant of obstructions and are affected by irradiation, reflection, metals, liquid, etc. Of all frequencies, LF RFID is the least susceptible to performance degradation from metals and liquids.

The SANBS conducted a study with control and test groups to determine the safety of SpaceCode’s anti-collision LF RFID with blood and blood products, as well as the efficacy in accuracy and reliability of continuously detecting 100 per cent of units. Under strictly controlled testing, the SANBS found no clinically significant deleterious effects on the blood products tested.


The results covered three categories:

1. Red cell concentrates: new and aged red blood cells, tested at various durations up to 42 days after collection and exposure, are not adversely affected following 24 hours of continuous exposure to 125 kHz RFID.

2. Plasma: frozen and thawed plasma products, tested under similar conditions, appear to be unaffected by continuous exposure for 24 hours.

3. Platelets: continuous 24-hour exposure of platelet concentrates appears to have no deleterious effect on platelet function, with less than a 20 per cent difference between the exposed test concentrates and unexposed concentrates.

Commenting on the SANBS approval, Dr Craig Cook, SpaceCode’s co-founder and healthcare advisor, noted that the use of LF with blood and blood products has traditionally been reserved for single-item tracking due to the technology’s perceived limited ability to scan multiple units simultaneously. But with SpaceCode technology “our anti-collision LF technology has changed the game because our system scans hundreds and thousands of items simultaneously, with 100% accuracy and reliability. The SANBS evaluated the biological, cellular and temperature effects of prolonged and continuous exposure of blood and blood products to LF RFID far in excess of any maximum typical exposure and use case scenario. They have given us a green light to deploy our RFID system in all sorts of blood applications. Gone are the days of inventory and supply chain inefficiency, stock shortages, errors in sample collection, ‘lost’ blood—you name it, our system delivers the kind of safety and efficacy that the healthcare industry needs.”

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