A Safety Net That Is Free (to you)

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How’s this for a win–win–win all the way around the patient care continuum? Strand Diagnostics introduced the Know-Error system for breast biopsy in 2011, a system that utilizes 2-D bar codes and DNA matching to instill specimen integrity and eliminate the problem of misidentified samples, something Know Error’s C. Michael Harmon says happens more than 1% of the time in the company’s experience to date. It works like this: Before the biopsy, a kit is opened, the patient’s DNA is collected with a cheek swab, and the patient self identifies by signing a card. The swab is then barcoded and sent to Know Error’s DNA lab in Indianapolis.

After the radiologist performs the biopsy, the patient’s biopsy tissue sample is placed in a bar-coded specimen container and sent to a pathology lab for evaluation. If positive for cancer (which happens between 2% and 3% of the time), the pathologist sends the sample to Know Error, which then confirms that the sample matches the patient. A positive finding for cancer triggers a billing event, and the patient’s insurance is billed. Specimen provenance complications and their resulting diagnostic errors are eliminated.