For years hospitals across the country have been working to eliminate surgical serious reportable events. Wrong body part, wrong procedure and wrong patient surgeries are taken very seriously both nationally and at Partners hospitals. With approximately 110,579 surgical procedures performed annually, the Partners hospitals reported 10 serious reportable surgical events in 2008. Efforts to eliminate these events are aimed at providing staff the tools to improve their communication by standardizing the processes for verifying the patient’s identity, the intended procedure, the intended surgical site, and the necessary equipment to perform the procedure safely—all while improving the transparency of these processes for patients.
One strategy is to employ the use of checklists. Similar to those used by the airline industry to standardize communication among the flight crew, surgical checklists are a relatively new and innovative way to enhance your safety as a surgical patient. The checklist is intended to ensure that no detail about the intended procedure is forgotten or overlooked. Surgical checklists are being used throughout Partners operating rooms, and we are continuously evaluating their effectiveness and learning how to improve them.
New technologies are also employed to reduce the chance that surgical implements are unintentionally left in the surgical site. At some hospitals, surgical instruments and sponges are bar-coded so that they can be detected and fully accounted for prior to the end of the surgical procedure.
At Partners, we are committed to eliminating these events by providing processes and procedures that enhance the reliability of the performance of our talented surgeons, nurses, technicians and technologists.