Joint Commission releases new method to prevent wrong-site surgery

The Joint Commission on Friday announced a Robust Process Improvement methodology to assess risk points and contributing factors of wrong-site, wrong-side, and wrong patient surgery as part of a previously launched collaboration to eliminate these never events.

Initially launched in July 2009, Rhode Island Hospital, Newport Hospital, and the Lifespan system partnered to improve safeguards.

The prevention method combines Lean Six Sigma and change management strategies. For example, the Center for Transforming Healthcare says one solution is for the surgeon to mark the site in the pre-op/holding area, and if he or she does not, document the reason why.

"Simply stated, wrong-site surgery should never happen," states a Joint Commission news brief.

Although rare, these never events occur up to 40 times a week, according to the accrediting body.

For more:
- read the Joint Commission news brief
- check out the Center for Transforming wrong-site surgery project (.pdf)