Stryker Corp. in Kalamazoo, MI, recently announced the availability of SurgiCount Promise, a risk-sharing program that protects a hospital’s investment in the SurgiCount Safety-Sponge System with up to $5 million in product-liability indemnification and a rebate of the cost of implementing SurgiCount.
Despite efforts by hospitals nationwide to improve patient safety, retained surgical items (RSIs) continue to be the number one reported surgical “never event,” and 69% of all RSIs are retained surgical sponges. There are an estimated 11 incidents of surgical sponges being left inside patients every day in the United States, which results in unnecessary pain and suffering and an average annual cost of $2.4 billion to the healthcare system, Stryker notes. Numerous independent organizations, including The Joint Commission, the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, and the American College of Surgeons, recommend the use of adjunct technology to supplement manual sponge counting to reduce the risk of retained sponges.
Dylan Crotty, vice president and general manager of Stryker Surgical, announced the new program, saying, “The SurgiCount Promise gives participating hospitals complete confidence to invest in patient safety by shifting product-cost risk to us.”
The SurgiCount Safety-Sponge System uses uniquely identified sponges and towels to provide a precise, real-time count of the items. Unlike the traditional manual count procedure, which relies on a whiteboard that is erased at the end of a procedure, a record of the SurgiCount-verified correct count is maintained in the hospital’s software so that surgeons, nurses, and administrators have a permanent record of the verified count.
Stryker offers qualifying facilities two layers of financial protection. If a patient experiences a retained sponge during a surgery in which SurgiCount was used as directed, SurgiCount will pay up to $5 million in legal costs for the provider and refund the participating facility’s incremental cost of implementing SurgiCount over its previous sponge spending for up to three years.
The SurgiCount system is in use in more than 480 hospitals nationwide, Stryker reports. Nearly 170 million SurgiCount Safety Sponges have been used in more than 9 million procedures over the past five years, and the company claims the system has never failed to identify a retained sponge.