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- Communication Improvement 14
- Culture of Safety 3
- Education and Training 3
- Error Reporting and Analysis 7
- Human Factors Engineering 4
- Legal and Policy Approaches 5
- Quality Improvement Strategies 5
- Teamwork 2
- Technologic Approaches 1
- Transparency and Accountability 1
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Web Resource > Multi-use Website
Oakbrook Terrace, IL: Joint Commission.
This campaign provides sets of materials to enable patients and families to engage in making their health care experiences as safe as possible. Topics covered include safe surgery, pain management, medication safety, and most recently, infection prevention. Each topical package includes infographics, videos, instruction guides, and a podcast.
Tools/Toolkit > Fact Sheet/FAQs
American College of Surgeons.
This brochure provides information for patients to help ensure that their surgery is performed on the correct part of the body.
Legislation/Regulation > Multi-use Website
The Joint Commission.
According to an AHRQ-supported study, wrong-site surgery occurred at a rate of approximately 1 per 113,000 operations between 1985 and 2004. In July 2004, The Joint Commission enacted a Universal Protocol that was developed through expert consensus on principles and steps for preventing wrong-site, wrong-procedure, and wrong-person surgery. The Universal Protocol applies to all accredited hospitals, ambulatory care, and office-based surgery facilities. The protocol requires performing a time out prior to beginning surgery, a practice that has been shown to improve teamwork and decrease the overall risk of wrong-site surgery. This Web site includes a number of resources and facts related to the Universal Protocol. Wrong-site, wrong-procedure, and wrong-patient errors are all now considered never events by the National Quality Forum and sentinel events by The Joint Commission. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have not reimbursed for any costs associated with these surgical errors since 2009.
Davis R. USA Today. April 17, 2006.
This article reports on a recent AHRQ-funded study on the incidence of wrong-site surgery and shares various perspectives on the issue.
Bernhard B. The Orange County Register. April 19, 2006.
This article reports on an Anaheim anesthesiologist's pre-surgery checklist, inspired by similar checklists used in the aviation industry.
Bramson K, Mooney T. Providence Journal. August 18, 2006.
This article reports on a case of mistaken identity that resulted in erroneous surgery, despite a "time out" before beginning the operation.
Journal Article > Commentary
The author explains the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations' Universal Protocol on surgical site verification in the context of its implementation in a New Jersey hospital.
Gulliver D. Herald Tribune. September 3, 2007.
This article describes how the culture around medical errors is evolving to include disclosure and transparency, illustrated by a physician's willingness to discuss a wrong-site surgery.
Kowalczyk L. Boston Globe. October 26, 2007;Metro section:1A.
This article investigates the causes of surgical errors reported in recent years by Massachusetts hospitals, and identifies team training and instrument bar-coding as solutions for improvement.
Associated Press. MSNBC. November 27, 2007.
This news article reports repeated incidents of wrong-side surgery at the same facility, and state and hospital reactions to the errors.
Smith S. Boston Globe. July 4, 2008;Metro section:1A.
This article reports on a wrong-side surgery that was immediately disclosed to the patient along with an apology. Hospital administrators also disclosed the error to staff.
Grant T. Washington Post. July 22, 2008:HE01
This article reports on a wrong-sided surgery near miss from the perspective of a parent, and discusses the role of family members in preventing medical errors.
Smith S. Boston Globe. July 30, 2008;Metro section:1A.
This article reports on the incidence of wrong site surgeries in Massachusetts and describes complex factors that may contribute to such errors occurring in spinal surgery.
Freyer FJ. Providence Journal. September 20, 2008.
This story reports on an incident involving wrong-side surgery and describes how the hospital responded to the event.
Altman LK. New York Times. December 11, 2001;1:1.
This news piece reports on wrong-site and wrong-patient surgery and describes efforts to prevent surgical errors following a Joint Commission sentinel event alert on the topic.
Stein L. St. Petersburg Times. June 21, 2010.
Reporting on wrong-site surgeries in Florida hospitals, this newspaper article describes how timeouts have changed the nature and frequency of surgical errors.
Rojas-Burke J. The Oregonian. May 25, 2011.
Boodman SG. Washington Post. June 21, 2011:E1.
Clarke JR. PA-PSRS Patient Saf Advis. 2015;12:19-27.
Wrong-site surgeries are considered never events by the National Quality Forum and sentinel events by The Joint Commission. Drawing from data submitted to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, this article analyzes 83 wrong-site extremity procedures in orthopedic surgery reported over 9 years and recommends site marking and time outs as strategies to prevent these incidents.
Whitman E. Mod Healthc. September 25, 2016.
Misidentification of patients can result in problems such as medication administration delays, blood transfusion mismatches, and wrong-patient surgery. This magazine article reviews recent research on this issue and suggests several system approaches for improvement, including the use of patient photos in electronic health records and standardizing patient identification processes.