Who knew that leaving surgical sponges inside patients was actually not that rare? At least that’s the message from ClearCount Medical Solutions, a developer of RFID technology used to detect and track the location of surgical sponges. The Pittsburgh company just brought in $4.1 million in first-round financing, earmarked for the wide release of its commercial product next year. The round was led by Draper Triangle Ventures and included unnamed angel investors.

Its product, the SmartSponge System, is currently being tried out by hospitals. The company does have two major rivals in the sponge detection field (SurgiCount Medical has a bar code system, and RF Surgical Systems also uses radio frequencies). But if all goes well, it plans to branch out into RFID-detectable surgical instruments within the next 18 months, VentureWire reports.

Just some quick factoids on why this type of technology might come in handy: In one in eight surgeries, its believed that some surgical implement has been left behind, each case taking an additional 13 minutes of precious operating room time to resolve, according to a recent Annals of Surgery Study via PE Wire. Beyond that, many insurers have stopped reimbursing hospitals for procedures necessitated by left-behind sponges.

VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative enterprise technology and transact. Learn more about membership.