Fairview will see fewer mistakes

New operating room protocols will ensure quality patient care.

by Carol Hamlin

The Jan. 27 issue of The Minnesota Daily included an article summarizing the reportable events of 2009 from the University of Minnesota Medical Center. Several parts of the article focused on surgery and require additional explanation or clarification. The quote âÄúThereâÄôs sort of a briefing or a pause where we make sure everybodyâÄôs on the same pageâÄù warrants additional explanation: We have developed a safe surgery process that includes both a briefing and a time out. The purpose of the briefing is to ensure that the entire operating room team âÄî which includes the surgeon, RN, anesthetist and scrub person âÄî possesses a shared mental model of the case and its intended progression. Basically, âÄúknow the plan, share the plan, review/mitigate the risks of the plan.âÄù The time out âÄî formerly known as the âÄúpauseâÄù âÄî is a process that occurs just prior to surgical incision. Its purpose is to ensure that we have the right patient, the right procedure and the right surgical site. The UMMC process has been developed in conjunction with Dr. Kathleen Harder of the UniversityâÄôs Center for Design in Health. The other part of the article that requires clarification is patient confirmation of the surgical site. Our process includes active patient and family involvement. Prior to surgery in the preoperative area, patients are asked to tell us what procedure they are having and where. This information is written on a white board in the patientâÄôs room. It is compared to the information of the patientâÄôs informed consent and serves as a knowledge and communication check to ensure that everyone is, as Susan Noaker stated, âÄúon the same page.âÄù Any discrepancies are identified and corrected long before the patient is transferred into the operating room. These activities are an excellent example of our commitment to embracing and enhancing safe and effective patient care. Carol Hamlin, Director of departmental performance Perioperative Services, Fairview