How hospital systems can bring their organizations closer to zero harm — A technology-focused discussion

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020 | 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm CT

Retained surgical items (RSIs), unintentionally left inside a patient during a procedure remain the most frequently reported sentinel events to the Joint Commission1 and retained surgical sponges (RSS) are one example of an RSI. The impact of RSSs are significant, and can result in costly litigation for the hospital, psychological stress to the caregiver, and permanent injury or even death to the patient. Clinical evidence shows that manual counting of sponges – even when carried out under evidence-based guidelines – often fails due to a false count, and therefore is unreliable when used as the only mechanism to avoid RSSs. An adjunct technology system is a useful tool to supplement the manual counting process and ensure an RSS is a never event. This webinar will provide information on the incidence and impact of RSSs and a technology available to prevent RSSs, thereby protecting the patient, caregiver and hospital system.

Learning Objectives:

  • Define retained surgical items (RSI), specifically retained surgical sponges (RSS)
  • List the clinical, financial and legal implications of RSSs
  • Review current practices for prevention of RSSs
  • Discuss an adjunct technology system that can document and validate manual counts

1Steelman, Victoria M., et al. "Unintentionally retained foreign objects: A descriptive study of 308 sentinel events and contributing factors." The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety 45.4 (2019): 249-258.


Valerie Marsh

Valerie Marsh, DNP, CNOR

University of Michigan