Joint Commission updates site-marking procedure

Site marking to eliminate wrong-site surgery is not required when the incision site is not certain before surgery begins, according to a clarification from The Joint Commission in Oakbrook Terrace, IL.

There had been some confusion about whether the site-marking section of The Joint Commission's Universal Protocol for Preventing Wrong Site, Wrong Procedure, and Wrong Person Surgery required preoperative marking interventional procedure cases for which the catheter or instrument insertion site is not predetermined, such as with cardiac catheterization and pacemaker insertion.

The Joint Commission acknowledges that the second bullet in the note under UP.01.02.01 element of Performance 5 conflicts with an existing interpretation published in the Standards FAQs on The Joint Commission web site, so the note is being revised to state that site marking is not required for such procedures. The change will appear in the July 2010 update to The Joint Commission manual.