3M Co. has won its first contract with the Mayo Clinic to provide radio-frequency identification (RFID) devices that will track patients' endoscopy tissue samples.

It marks 3M's first use of its fast-growing RFID technology in a hospital and its first product contract with Rochester-based Mayo.

The contract calls for 3M to provide RFID tracking tags and scanners for the 41 operating rooms where 20,000 endoscopy and colon procedures were performed last year, said Kathy Anderson, a Mayo spokeswoman. A five-month pilot program restricted the 3M equipment to five operating rooms and one lab. The technology tracked 1,800 tissue samples.

The RFID technology is expected to help Mayo cut paperwork and data-coding errors while freeing up nurses for more patient care. The terms of the deal, potentially lucrative long term, were not disclosed.

"The results of the pilot were compelling enough to both of us that we saw an interest to expand it and to continue to quantify those results," said Bob Anderson, director of 3M's Track and Trace Solutions unit. "We believe that there is interest to expand beyond the endoscopy practice, but it will depend on the specific results from a broader deployment in endoscopy."