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Medline Industries, Inc. announces the signing of a three-year national agreement with Premier Purchasing Partners -- the group purchasing unit of the Premier healthcare alliance -- for surgical sponge detection systems, which includes ClearCount technology. The agreement, now in effect, ensures that Premier's 2,500 hospital member facilities and 77,000 other healthcare sites have contractual access to the most comprehensive technology available for the prevention of retained surgical sponge incidents.
The SmartSponge System uniquely identifies each sponge in an operating room so that they can be both easily counted and detected during surgery. To date this dual approach has made retained sponges a true "never event" in all operating rooms where ClearCount has been implemented and has made it the fastest growing technology solution in this space.
Despite designation as a "never event" by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), retained surgical items are estimated to occur in one of every 1,500 open abdominal/chest procedures, which can lead to hospital inefficiencies, unnecessary costs, serious infections, and even death. In 2010, retained surgical incidents became the leading Sentinel Event reported to the Joint Commission.
In one study using a retrospective review of medical malpractice claims data from a statewide insurer in Massachusetts, sponge counts had been falsely thought to be correct in 76 percent of non-vaginal surgical cases involving retained sponges. "Falsely correct" sponge counts were attributed to team fatigue, difficult or long operations, sponges sticking together, shift changes or procedures with a large number of sponges. In July 2010, new Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) Recommended Practices for the Prevention of Retained Surgical Items highlighted that membership may consider use of adjunct technologies to enhance surgical count procedures in order to avoid retained incidents.