Accreditation

Surgical site marking: Standardization key in preventing errors

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, September 1, 2007

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Approximately five years ago, the healthcare industry began experiencing an increase in reporting of wrong-site surgical errors to the point that such errors became the single-most reported sentinel event in hospitals across the country. In response, The Joint Commission developed its Universal Protocol for Preventing Wrong Site, Wrong Procedure, and Wrong Person SurgeryTM soon after, which was implemented nationwide. Yet wrong-site surgery remains a troublesome issue to this day, causing continued confusion in many facilities. In numerous cases, wrong-site surgical errors stem from a lack of standardization throughout the facility. "The biggest breakdown isn't in the OR but in areas where procedures are done outside the OR, particularly in the ER, ICU, and ambulatory care clinics," says Kurt Patton, MS, RPh, principal of Patton Healthcare Consulting in Glendale, AZ.

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