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Study finds bar-coded surgical sponges improve patient safety

Infection Control Today, May 15, 2008
A randomized controlled trial has found that bar-coded, computer-assisted surgical sponge counting systems reduce the chance of counting errors during surgery by a factor of 3 to 1. Previous studies have shown that counts are falsely reported as correct in the majority of cases of retained sponges and instruments. The new study was based on 300 general surgery operations and showed that using a bar-coded surgical sponge system during surgery detected more than 10 times more counting errors than traditional counting methods in cases where sponges were misplaced or counted incorrectly.