A highly innovative, problem-solving healthcare supplier and a cutting-edge electronics firm are collaborating on a new product which could potentially save the NHS £250m a year.

Quality Hospital Solutions (QHS) and PragmatIC, both based at the North East Technology Park (NETPark) in Sedgefield, County Durham, are working together on SamplePod – a revolutionary tracking and transport system for pathology samples.

Inventor and Managing Director of QHS, Andrew Turner, designed SamplePod after a large regional Pathology lab highlighted, they wanted to develop a more efficient and time saving way of transporting their samples.

NHS Foundation Trusts receive thousands of samples per day for analysis into their pathology departments, with the samples arriving in many different types and sizes of tubes.

Transporting and processing these samples can be inefficient, as the current system involves packing specimens into several individual plastic bags along with paper request forms.

This system uses a tremendous amount of non-recyclable packaging, due to strict regulations in the healthcare industry. Therefore, Andrew was determined to find a solution to reduce waste, drive efficiency and increase capacity.

His innovative product, SamplePod, will remove more than five tonnes of waste from one pathology lab alone .

QHS works in collaboration with South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS, Academic Health and Science Network and industry leading technology partners.

The company has teamed up with innovative electronics firm PragmatIC to develop the tracking element of SamplePod using radio frequency identification (RFID). PragmatIC’s ground-breaking flexible integrated circuit technology allows ultra-low cost RFID to be added to every sample tube, giving each one a unique digital identity that can be read wirelessly. The individual sample IDs are locked to the master RFID chip within the SamplePod itself. Therefore, each sample can be fully traced in real-time from Primary Care or ward, all the way through to the pathology lab.

Initially, SamplePod will be trialled with 10 GP surgeries in Gateshead before being rolled out to a total of 1,600 surgeries in the borough.

NETPark is managed by Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council.

To find out more about SamplePod visit www.samplepod.co.uk and for PragmatIC go to www.pragmatic.tech.