Hospital First in World With New Technology

Salina Regional Health Center became the first hospital in the world to implement Stryker’s SurgiCount+ Safety Sponge System this week– aimed at reducing surgical risk, improving
workflow and reducing stress for surgical staff members.

According to the hospital, SurgiCount+ uses ultra-high radio frequency identification (RFID) technology embedded in each surgical sponge to track its use during surgery. Nurses count-in and count-out each sponge used during a procedure using a RFID reader. If a sponge is missing after a procedure, nurses can use the wireless reader to scan the room and locate it.

Previous versions of the technology used optical scanning technology to scan bar codes on sponges, which wasn’t very useful for locating missing sponges. Many hospitals in the United States are
converting to the new SurgiCount+ system in the coming months. Advances in the technology are also planned for release in the upcoming months that will allow the device to optically measure blood loss, which will help minimize manual calculating errors.

“The technology provides an added level of security over manual counts, which can have human errors,” said Kelley Drake, Surgical Services nursing director at Salina Regional. “It’s also a step towards achieving the new Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) Center of Excellence in Surgical Safety, which we are striving for.”

Salina Regional has implemented the technology for use in all of its operating rooms, Cardiac Cath Lab, and Labor and Delivery Department. Major surgeries like heart bypass and trauma surgeries can use up to 100 sponges in each surgery. Counting-out and locating all of the sponges used during a surgery is important. Retained sponges, while rare, can lead to adverse patient outcomes. For this reason, accurate sponge counting has always been a critical component to surgical safety.

“We’re excited to be a leader in using this advanced technology,” Drake said.

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Photo via Salina Regional Health Center:  Andrea Zornman, marketing manager with Stryker, trains Salina Regional Health Center surgery
nurses on Tuesday for the use of the new SurgiCount+ Safety Sponge System. Salina Regional is the first
hospital in the world to implement the new system, which uses ultra-high radio frequency technology
embedded in each sponge to track its use during surgery.