Joint Commission unveils tool to avoid wrong-site surgeries

Tool helped pilot sites cut wrong-site surgery risks by nearly 50%

The Joint Commission on Tuesday unveiled a tool that aims to help health care providers reduce the risk of wrong-site surgery, Modern Healthcare reports.

Wrong-site procedures may occur when a physician confuses a patient's left and right sides or performs the wrong operation. The Joint Commission estimates that wrong-site surgeries occur up to 40 times per week.

The Targeted Solutions Tool was developed by the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare in coordination with eight hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs). Using Robust Process Improvement methods—which incorporate Lean Six Sigma and change-management methodologies—the organizations identified 29 main causes of wrong-site procedures that stemmed from organizational culture or occurred during scheduling, preoperative holding, or in the OR.

Participating pilot sites were able to use the tool to reduce the number of surgical cases with wrong-site risks by 46% in the scheduling area, by 63% in preoperative areas, and by 51% in the OR.

The Targeted Solutions Tool is available to all Joint Commission-accredited organizations via its extranet (McKinney, Modern Healthcare, 2/14 [subscription required]; AHA News, 2/14; Joint Commission release, 2/14). 

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