Hospitals Seek to Advance Patient Safety with the Time-Out Towel by Checklist Boards
A Surgical Time-Out before, during, and after a procedure is well documented to be effective to catch potential errors of omission and misidentification. Operating room preparations are complex and involve several people from different departments. Most facilities try to reduce the time between cases. This can result in problems that don’t become apparent until the operation is in progress. These problems include preparing for the wrong procedure, the wrong equipment, the wrong instruments, the wrong personnel, the wrong medications and many more. Adding to the stress to quickly prepare for a procedure are the time constraints of surgeons and others. All this creates a situation in which errors are more possible. A method is needed to remind everyone to stop and check everything before the patient is prepped, positioned and anesthetized.
A custom Checklist White Board is used during the Time-Out to allow the surgical team to confirm the correct patient, the correct procedure, the correct position and other items the hospital chooses to include. The issue of patient safety arises when the Time-Out is forgotten or otherwise not performed. New strategies, including the Time-Out Towel, remind the surgical team to stop everything, consult the Checklist Board and perform the surgical Time-Out.
There are various methods to announce to the surgical team that a Time-Out is needed. Some ring a bell, some make a verbal announcement and some in addition to these use a visual cue such as a Time-Out Towel that reads: “No Instruments Until Time-Out Complete.”
“One of our partners asked us to develop a “Time-Out Towel” to be placed on the patient or surgical instruments with the universal stop sign. This is a great reminder to not pick up a surgical instrument until the Time-Out is complete.” said, Rick Taylor, president of Checklist Boards Corporation. “We created a custom design for based on input from our client, just as we do for our Checklist Boards. We work closely with hospitals to ensure these patient safety tools meet their exact needs.”
As surgical Time-Outs and the use of Checklist Boards become a routine part of every invasive procedure, creative methods such as the Time-Out Towel will help busy medical professionals to remember to stop and double check everything.
July 22, 2015 Doug Hall - ChecklistBoards