OR Today | News | Surgicount Safety-Sponge System

Stryker has announced that more than 500 hospitals nationwide are using the SurgiCount Safety-Sponge System and have accounted for nearly 200 million surgical sponges around the United States in the past five years.

“The successful implementation of SurgiCount at more than 500 hospitals nationwide demonstrates a growing trend toward hospitals using technology to strengthen patient-safety protocols,” said Nate Miersma, director of surgical safety at Stryker Surgical. “SurgiCount can help protect a hospital’s patients, staff and bottom line by significantly reducing the risk of the most common surgical error, retained sponges.”

Despite efforts by hospitals nationwide to improve patient safety, retained surgical items (RSIs) continue to be the No. 1 reported surgical “never event,” and 69 percent of all RSIs are retained surgical sponges. There are an estimated 11 incidents of surgical sponges being left inside patients every day in the United States, resulting in unnecessary pain and suffering and an average annual cost of $2.4 billion to the health care system.

Numerous independent organizations – including The Joint Commission, the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses and the American College of Surgeons – recommend the use of adjunct technology to supplement manual sponge counting to reduce the risk of retained sponges.

The SurgiCount Safety-Sponge System is the market-leading solution, utilizing uniquely identified sponges and towels to provide a precise, real-time count so the surgical team can close a procedure – and a patient – with confidence. Unlike the traditional manual counting procedure, which relies on a whiteboard that is erased at the end of a procedure, a record of the SurgiCount-verified correct count is maintained in the hospital’s SurgiCount 360 software so that surgeons, nurses and hospital administrators have a permanent record of the verified count.

When used in conjunction with the manual counting process, SurgiCount significantly reduces the risk of retained sponges by addressing the problem of false-correct counts. The SurgiCount system is currently in use in hospitals in 43 states, and in an estimated 11 million procedures, the system has never failed to identify a retained sponge.