Bellevue, Washington, October 17, 2011—Memorial University Medical Center, an academic medical center serving southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina, announced it has implemented the RF Assure™ Detection System in all of its operating rooms to prevent the medical error of retained surgical items (RSI).
The RF Assure Detection System is a next-generation platform that uses radio- frequency detection to identify and prevent potential RSIs, or the incident of any material such as gauze or sponges that may remain inside a patient following a surgical procedure. Memorial University Medical Center is the first hospital in the Savannah,
Georgia area to implement the technology and is home to the region’s only Level 1 trauma center. The risk of a retained surgical item is greater during emergency “no-time- to-count” procedures, such as trauma cases.
Memorial University Medical Center is using the system as an adjunct to the standard practice of manual counting of surgical materials. Rather than replace manual counting procedures required by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), use of the RF Assure Detection System reinforces AORN protocol by providing extra verification without the need for secondary counting or additional time consuming processes.
“Providing the very highest level of safety in our patients’ care is critical, and implementing the radio frequency detection technology to eliminate the incidence of retained objects is a key step to preventing errors in our surgical suites,” said Maggie Gill, president and CEO of Memorial Health. “We are proud of our leadership in patient safety and adoption of this cutting-edge safety technology.”
The RF Assure Detection System features a soft detection mat, installed on the surgical table under the patient, which automatically scans the surgical site and alerts operating room staff if any materials fitted with an RF tag, such as gauze or a sponge, remain inside a patient’s body prior to closure. With this automatic detection, clinicians are able to easily and efficiently prevent RSI as well as unnecessary X-rays and repeat surgeries, potentially lowering anesthesia time.
“Radio frequency detection technology has fast become an essential tool in the operating room setting to eliminate RSI, a dangerous, yet highly preventable medical error,” said Dr. Jeffrey Port, founder and chairman of RF Surgical. “We are pleased to work with providers such as Memorial University Medical Center, who are leading the way in their regions as champions of patient safety, to provide this patient safety solution.”
Unintended retention of a foreign body is among the top ten sentinel events reported to The Joint Commission1. It is estimated that 1,500 to 2,000 retained surgical item cases occur each year in the United States2. According to a summary of sentinel events reported to The Joint Commission, the number of RSIs nearly doubled in 2010 compared with 2008.
About Memorial University Medical Center
Memorial University Medical Center is a two-state healthcare organization serving a 35-county area in southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina. The system includes its flagship hospital, a 530-bed academic medical center; Memorial primary and specialty physician networks; a major medical education program; business and industry services; and NurseOne, a 24-hour call center. To learn more, visit www.memorialhealth.com. You can follow us at facebook.com/memorialhealth, twitter.com/mymemorial, and youtube.com/memorialhealth.
About RF Surgical Systems, Inc.
RF Surgical Systems, Inc. is the market leader in the detection and prevention of retained surgical sponges. The RF Surgical Detection System is the preferred solution in more than 1,500 operating rooms, trauma and labor and delivery suites nationwide. Since January 2011, more than 70 hospitals and surgical centers have joined the fast-growing list of care providers using RF Surgical Technology. RF Surgical Systems is based in Bellevue, Washington with R & D facilities in San Diego, California. The advanced technologies used in the RF Surgical Detection System are protected by U.S. patents. Regulatory clearance to market the system was granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November 2006. The company is online at www.rfsurg.com.