Back to Top Skip to main content

Hospital goes low, high tech to ensure patient safety

Evans Army Community Hospital operating room nurse Regina Andrews performs a diagnostic test on the RFID wand. The wand is used to locate surgical sponges embedded with an RFID chip. (U.S. Army photo by Jeff Troth) Evans Army Community Hospital operating room nurse Regina Andrews performs a diagnostic test on the RFID wand. The wand is used to locate surgical sponges embedded with an RFID chip. (U.S. Army photo by Jeff Troth)

Recommended Content:

Patient Safety | Military Hospitals and Clinics | Multi-Service Markets | Quality and Safety of Health Care (for Healthcare Professionals) | Innovation | Technology

FORT CARSON, Colo. — Counting is something most people learn at an early age. And in most jobs being off by one or two on your count isn't a big thing. But, if your job is in an operating room, having an exact count of sponges or tools is a necessity. 

To ensure the count of medical items is correct in its operating rooms, Evans Army Community Hospital has started using radio-frequency ID sponges. 

"Leaving a sponge inside a patient is something that nurses and doctors do not want to happen," said Army Maj. Jesus Chavez, Evans operating room clinical nurse officer in charge. "A retained sponge is something that can be extremely harmful to the patient. The body won't like it and will reject it."

A sponge left in a patient can lead to pain, infection, bowel obstructions, problems in healing, longer hospital stays, additional surgeries and in rare cases, death. In order to prevent an Unintended Retained Foreign Object, or URFO, being left in a patient from surgery, operating room staffs have long tracked instruments and sponges used in an operation with a baseline count before the surgery, a second count before the surgeon begins sewing the incision and a final count before closing the skin. 

"These counts help to eliminate the possibility of leaving a sponge behind," said Chavez. "This new RFID technology will help us even more to not do harm to a patient. Because even once is one time too many."

Chavez said that because of the counts, UFROs are quite rare. A 2007 study done in Massachusetts showed that foreign objects were left in the body in one out of every 10,000 surgeries. He said that the RFID sponges will reduce the number of URFOs even more.

The RFID sponges look like normal surgical sponges but they have an RFID chip embedded in them. This chip allows the surgical staff to locate the sponges using a handheld wand. 

Even with this technology, the OR nurses still keep a count on the sponges used during an operation. The wand is used during every operation to double check their count.

Although counting and RFID sponges are used in all operations at Evans, they are not the only systems the hospital has implemented for patient safety.

"We recently implemented white boards in the ORs to assists with the counting process and to track what instruments are being used," said Army Capt. Mallory McCuin, clinical nurse officer in charge of Evans Maternal-Child department. "This enhances communication between the provider, OR tech and the nurse." 

McCuin said that the OR staff also utilize "call backs." This requires the provider to call out when putting an instrument or a sponge into a patient and then calls back when that item is taken out. 

For emergency C-sections, which normally occur outside of an operating room, a portable ultrasound is used to scan patients prior to stitching them up. 

"We are here to ensure that our patients receive the best care possible," said McCuin. "And we are going to take every step, every process that we can think of to make sure that they are in better shape when they leave here than when they got here." 

Disclaimer: Re-published content may have been edited for length and clarity. Read original post.               

You also may be interested in...

Health care of the future: Virtual doctor-patient visits a reality at NCR

Article
2/20/2018
In a demonstration of the telehealth process at Fort Campbell’s Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, clinical staff nurse Army Lt. Maxx Mamula examines mock patient Army Master Sgt. Jason Alexander using a digital external ocular camera. The image is immediately available to a provider at Fort Gordon’s Eisenhower Medical Center, offering remote consultation. (U.S. Army photo by David E. Gillespie)

Experts from MHS, NCR come together at Virtual Health Summit

Recommended Content:

Access to Health Care | Military Hospitals and Clinics | Technology

Air Force robotic surgery training program aims at improving patient outcomes

Article
2/9/2018
Air Force Col. Debra Lovette (left), 81st Training Wing commander, receives a briefing from Air Force 2nd Lt. Nina Hoskins, 81st Surgical Operations squadron room nurse, on robotics surgery capabilities inside the robotics surgery clinic at Keesler Medical Center, Mississippi. The training program stood up in March 2017 and has trained surgical teams within the Air Force and across the Department of the Defense. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue).

Robotic surgery is becoming the standard of care for many specialties and procedures

Recommended Content:

Technology | Innovation | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Robot dog improves SOF medical practices

Article
1/10/2018
A multi-purpose canine handler with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, controls a laceration on a realistic canine mannequin during MPC medical training. During this training, MPC handlers practice applying canine medical aid on the new “robot dog” for the first time, which is in its final stages of testing and development. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Bryann K Whitley)

The development of the new “robot dog” came from SOCOM’s desire to improve the current medical training capabilities

Recommended Content:

Technology | Veterinary Service

Survey indicates higher satisfaction with military medical facilities

Article
1/8/2018
Staff at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington, treat patients. The 2017 results of the Defense Department’s Joint Outpatient Experience Survey show an increase in patient satisfaction with military medical facilities and pharmacy care. (U.S. Army photo)

The results of the survey show an overall increase in satisfaction

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Access to Health Care | MHS Patient Satisfaction Surveys | MHS Quality, Patient Safety, and Access Information (for Patients)

Feature: Meet the 2017 Quality and Patient Safety Winners

Article
1/3/2018
Staff from the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital accept the MHS Advancement toward High Reliability in Healthcare Award in the Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety discipline for their “Improve Sterile Instrument and Process Handling” initiative.

Feature: Meet the 2017 Quality and Patient Safety Winners

Recommended Content:

Patient Safety | eBulletin

Patient Safety in Action: MHS Dental Community Drills Down for Patient Safety Standards

Article
1/3/2018
An Army soldier receives dental care from Air Force dental clinicians at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii while the Airmen are deployed with the Florida Air National Guard to work and train in a joint environment.

Recommended Content:

Patient Safety | eBulletin

HRO Corner: Air Force Medical Service Takes Off with Trusted Care

Article
1/3/2018
Air Force flight nurse administers pain medication to a patient in transit to home.

The Air Force Medical Service is using traditional in-person training, virtual mentoring, modern technology and social media to standardize high reliability across the service.

Recommended Content:

Patient Safety | eBulletin

DoD PSP Treasure Chest: January/February Edition

Article
1/3/2018
DoD Patient Safety Program Treasure Chest

January/February 2018 edition of the Department of Defense Patient Safety Program Treasure Chest

Recommended Content:

Patient Safety | eBulletin

2017 Year in Review: Places where Military Health System leaders, experts gathered

Article
12/21/2017
Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director, Defense Health Agency, speaks at the Defense Health Information Technology Symposium, July 25, in Orlando, Florida. Conferences like this one help MHS and other health care personnel to exchange ideas and information to help improve care to beneficiaries. (Courtesy photo)

Conferences offer opportunities to focus on the best health care for beneficiaries

Recommended Content:

Innovation | Military Health System Electronic Health Record | MHS GENESIS | Health IT Research and Innovation Strategy | Warrior Care

Defense Medical Logistics Standard Support (DMLSS)

Fact Sheet
12/19/2017

DMLSS delivers an automated and integrated information system with a comprehensive range of medical materiel, equipment, war reserve materiel and facilities management functions.

Recommended Content:

Medical Logistics | Technology

Joint Medical Asset Repository (JMAR)

Fact Sheet
12/19/2017

JMAR provides 24/7 access to medical asset information for users, on any computer

Recommended Content:

Medical Logistics | Technology

Theater Enterprise-Wide Logistics Systems (TEWLS)

Fact Sheet
12/19/2017

TEWLS consolidates numerous military logistics functions into a single application and database.

Recommended Content:

Medical Logistics | Technology

Elective surgeries hone surgical skills, prepare medical team for combat

Article
12/7/2017
Inside Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center’s second floor surgery suite, surgeons and medical teams are busy honing their critical-care skills. Regardless of procedure or patient, every incision is an exercise in mission readiness. (U.S. Army photo by Marcy Sanchez)

Regardless of procedure or patient, every incision is an exercise in mission readiness

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Health Readiness

Doctors use cutting-edge research at Navy hospital

Article
12/6/2017
Chad Rodarmer, traumatic brain injury clinic program manager, demonstrates tracking a patient's eye movement at Naval Medical Center San Diego, California. (DoD photo by EJ Hersom)

The Navy is developing and using cutting-edge research to better help service members, their family members and retirees

Recommended Content:

Technology | Warrior Care | Traumatic Brain Injury

WBAMC pharmacist catches serious drug interaction

Article
11/27/2017
Dr. Anna Jewula, pharmacist, Department of Pharmacy, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, is recognized for her attentiveness in assisting a patient with a prescription order that contraindicated a previous prescription medication, avoiding a potentially serious drug interaction detrimental to the patient’s health (U.S. Army photo Marcy Sanchez)

Thanks to a pharmacist’s careful eye, one patient avoided a potentially deadly drug interaction

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | TRICARE Pharmacy Program
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 22

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing: Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.