Banner Health introduces new Safe Surgery Process; policy will improve patient safety, reduce errors
PHOENIX (Feb. 17, 2010) – Banner Health facilities are implementing a new policy designed to reduce preventable surgical errors. The new “Safe Surgery Process,” introduced in several of Banner’s Western Region hospitals in 2009-’10 and now in place at Banner Estrella Medical Center, Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center and Banner Boswell Medical Center, emphasizes a standardized practice to slow the process and focus the entire surgical team’s efforts onto the patient.
Safe Surgery introduces several behavioral tools into the surgical process, including behavioral compliance, extensive use of mistake-proofing (reducing complexity, ambiguity, vagueness and uncertainty), human factors engineering, and cognitive psychology that ensure the correct patient, correct procedure and the correct procedural site/side are identified for all surgical procedures.
Part of the Safe Surgery Process is a new standardized surgical count process. Surgical counts are performed to account for supplies/items and to prevent injury to a patient as a result of a retained sponge, syringe, or instrument. Because this is the standard of practice, the Safe Surgery Process will be consistent for every surgical procedure in all 23 Banner acute care hospitals when the rollout is completed in early 2012.
“Safe Surgery asks everyone involved in the patient’s surgical care to take the extra time – calling a ‘time out,’ in essence – to make sure that everything is correct and accounted for, before, during and after the procedure,” said Deb Dahl, senior director of Clinical Innovation at Banner Health. “Patients and their family are encouraged to speak freely and ask questions during the entire process.”
The Time Out Process has been simplified from multiple elements to three. Time out is an active process, led by the surgeon. All team members participate in the time out with the surgeon by identifying the patient, the procedure to be performed and the site/side of the procedure.
Banner is modeling a process led by Kathleen Harder, PhD, that has driven the retained foreign objects count to zero and sustained zero for four years at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview, and Christiana Care Health System of Delaware.
“The new Safe Surgery Process outlines expectations, requires intentional and deliberate communication, and reduces opportunities where mistakes can be made. Every member of the surgical team is cognitively engaged in the pre-procedure briefing, surgical time out and post-procedure debriefing of every case,” Dahl added.
About Banner Health
Headquartered in Phoenix, Banner Health is one of the largest, nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns or manages 23 acute-care hospitals, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services including family clinics, home care and hospice services, and a nursing registry. Banner Health is in seven states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. To learn more about Banner Health, go to http://www.bannerhealth.com.