ClearCount Medical Solutions announced that they received FDA approval its RFID-based SmartSponge System for use (press release - pdf).

This is the world’s first RFID system that detects and counts surgical sponges and towels during surgical procedures.” Mr. Palmer continued, “With an estimated 3,000 – 5,000 incidents a year, retained surgical sponges are a considerable problem. The SmartSponge™ System can improve patient safety and efficiency by alerting staff when there is a missing sponge.”

ClearCount has a recently improved return on investment due to the draft CMS rules for reimbursement for 2008 where they will no longer reimburse hospitals for preventable adverse events. Number 3 on the list is, "objects left in after surgery."

Pictured right is the ClearCount tag. You can read more about ClearCount here.