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RFID 100% Accurate in Surgical Sponge Tracking Test

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, February 8, 2011

A recent two-year study in California by the state Department of Public Health showed that even in recent years, sponges made up 40% of all unintentionally retained foreign surgical objects, and is the subject of an upcoming hospital-wide prevention project.

Retained foreign objects not only add to the length of hospital stays, but they add to hospital costs, put the patient at greater risk of developing an infection, and often require they undergo another invasive procedure, which some patients may not be healthy enough to withstand.

In conclusion, she wrote, RF technology in surgical sponges "is an appropriate option to consider when redesigning healthcare system to prevent 'never events' and enhance patient safety."

See Also:
Bar Code Technology Reduces Medication Errors

 

Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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1 comments on "RFID 100% Accurate in Surgical Sponge Tracking Test"


Jonathan (3/11/2011 at 4:28 PM)
One important statistic you ommitted is the rate at which surgical sponges are retained in patients as a function of the usage of surgical sponges. I suspect this is some small number per million, i.e. for every million sponges used five are retained in patients. Given this rate of retention we can then do a cost benefit analysis. Cost per sponge retained = $200,000 Sponges retained per million sponges used = 5 Cost per million sponges used = 5 * $200,000 = $1,000,000. Cost per sponge = $1,000,000 / 1,000,000 = $1 Now assume the RFID sponge retention rate is zero per million sponges used. (Perfection is unlikely but it makes the math easy.) If the RFID sponge costs $1 more than an orginary sponge it will not be cost effective. If the RFID sponge costs les than an ordinary sponge it will be cost effective.