Avoiding Retained Surgical Items at an Academic Medical Center: Sustainability of a Surgical Quality Improvement Project

Robert R. Cima, Brenda A. Bearden, Anantha Kollengode, Joseph M. Nienow, Cheryl A. Weisbrod, Sean C. Dowdy, Gwendolyn J. Amstutz, Bradly J. Narr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Unintentionally retained surgical items (RSIs) are a serious complication representing a surgical "Never" event. The authors previously reported the process and significant improvement over a 3-year multiphased quality improvement RSI reduction effort that included sponge-counting technology. Herein, they report the sustainability of that effort over the decade following the formal quality improvement project conclusion. This retrospective analysis includes descriptive and qualitative data collected during RSI event root cause analysis. Between January 2009 and December 2019, 640 889 operations were performed with 24 RSIs reported. The resulting RSI rate of 1 per 26 704 operations represent a 486% performance improvement compared to the preintervention rate of 1 per 5500 operations. The interval, in days, between RSI events increased to 160 from 26 during the preintervention phase. Cotton sponges were the most retained RSI despite the use of sponge-counting technology. A significant and sustained reduction in RSI is possible after designing a sustainable comprehensive multidisciplinary effort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-245
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Quality
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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