The RI Witness security system was installed in the laboratory at the Herts & Essex Fertility Centre in 2008 following an exciting invitation from the system’s designer, Research Instruments (RI) to be the first UK fertility clinic to trial the software in 2006. The trial, which was conducted between February and May 2006 alongside our laboratories standard manual witnessing procedures, enabled the development of a user-friendly system which mapped out in sequence every laboratory procedure and its associated witness points during a patient’s treatment pathway.
To date, the highly thought out RI Witness system has safely monitored more than one million embryos. This robust and fail-safe system offers benefits to patients being treated at clinics using the software as well as to the clinics themselves. Our patients, are provided with absolute confidence and reassurance in regards to the safety of their gametes and embryos throughout every step of their cycle, as well as involving them directly in their treatment. RI Witness also provides Herts & Essex with an accurate and traceable method by constantly tracking and recording procedures, personnel and consumables at every stage of the patient’s pathway. For these reasons, RI Witness has developed to become an integral part of many modern and adaptive IVF laboratories, both in the UK and worldwide.
How the RI Witness security system works
The RI Witness system works by using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology, which enables patient samples to be constantly tracked as they proceed through the laboratory during a treatment cycle. RI Witness readers and touch screens are installed at every working station where patients samples are treated. Each work station is continually monitored and the RFID tags are automatically read at every procedure. If any samples from incompatible patients are introduced into the same work area, RI Witness emits an audible alarm and displays a warning on the touch screen.
On the day that treatment starts, each patient/couple is provided with a witness card that contains a unique electronic reference specific only to them. This means that any tubes, pots or dishes containing your eggs, sperm or embryos can be fitted with a microchip that is programmed with your unique electronic reference. Each time a procedure or check is performed on any of your gametes or embryos, the RI witness system logs the procedure, the embryologist performing the procedure, and any witness.
By offering constant monitoring, each movement of gametes or embryos from one tube/pot/dish to another in any designated work area ensures that only one patient can be worked on at any given time, therefore safeguarding sample identity.