The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, based in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., has proposed a new universal protocol for eliminating wrong-site, wrong-procedure and wrong-patient surgeries and is seeking comment from healthcare experts and patient safety advocates.
By creating a standardized approach for all operations and other invasive procedures, the draft protocol would require multiple, redundant strategies to avoid wrong site and other surgical errors with participation from the entire surgical team.
The protocol was developed at the May 9 Wrong Site Surgery Summit in conjunction with the AMA, the American College of Physicians, the American College of Surgeons, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the American Dental Association, the American Hospital Association and other healthcare organizations.
The group determined that a universal protocol is needed that is specific enough to eliminate confusion about site marking while still encouraging communication among surgical team members, yet provides the flexibility needed for individual surgical situations.
The three main components of the protocol include a pre-operative verification process, marking the operative site and taking a "time-out" immediately before beginning the procedure.
Comments will be received until July 9. More background and a PDF version of the draft universal protocol can be found at the JCAHO Web site.