Targeting improvements in surgical care

Targeting improvements in surgical care

By Laura Mize

UF&Shands surgical teams are studying results of the “Targeted Solutions Tool,” a protocol developed by the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare to help health care organizations prevent wrong-site surgeries.

The protocol requires an assessment of everything a hospital does to schedule and prepare for an operation. Previous studies have identified attributes of these processes that may increase the risk of wrong-site surgeries.

Diane Skorupski, R.N., M.S., C.N.O.R., N.E.-B.C., associate vice president of perioperative services at Shands at UF, said the assessment included audits of surgical scheduling, the preoperative process on the day of surgery and the “time-out” process in the operating room. The purpose of the time-out is to conduct a final assessment that the correct patient, site  and procedure are identified. A designated member of the team initiates the time-out, and it includes active communication among the immediate members of the surgical team. The procedure is not started until all questions or concerns are resolved.

UF&Shands will enhance policies and practices based on opportunities for improvement identified by the audits, she said. Mark Scarborough, M.D., chair of orthopaedics and rehabilitation and of UF&Shands’ Surgical Quality and Safety Committee, said the Targeted Solutions Tool is an extension of efforts begun several years ago to improve the safety of surgical procedures. He said the goal is to “pinpoint what are the opportunities for improvement — to see what’s working well and what’s not.”