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Safety: High-Tech Help for Preventing RSIs
New AORN guideline recommends the use of adjunct technology.
Adam Taylor | Senior Editor
Publish Date: December 9, 2021   |  Tags:   Patient Safety Wound Closure
DOUBLE CHECK Adjunct technology such as data-matrix coded sponge systems and radio frequency identification are used to detect the location of surgical soft goods or verify the outcome of manual counting procedures.

The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) has released an updated guideline on preventing unintentionally retained surgical items (RSIs) that includes the recommendation to use technology to locate surgical soft goods or verify the accuracy of manual counts. The former guideline says facilities “may evaluate” technologies that supplement staff’s manual counts. The change to recommending the use of platforms that can help prevent the retention of some RSIs is significant and speaks to the seriousness of the issue.

“Manual counting, while important, is susceptible to human error and is unlikely to improve to higher levels of accuracy as it stands right now,” says Julie Cahn, DNP, RN, CNOR, RN-BC, ACNS-BC, CNS-CP, a senior perioperative practice specialist at AORN and the lead author of the latest guideline revisions. “Retained soft goods continue to occur despite manual counting processes and the use of radiography during count discrepancies.” She points out that adjunct technology is available for many of the soft goods used in surgery today and its use may help prevent RSIs.

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