JCAHO Rules To Reduce Surgical Errors To Take Effect July 1
Rules issued by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations that aim to prevent surgeons from operating on the wrong body part or patient will take effect July 1, the AP/Chicago Tribune reports. Before operating, surgeons will be required to sign the incision site with a marker that will not wash off in the operating room; whenever possible, the marks should be made while a patient is awake and cooperative, the rules say. In addition, the operating team will be required to go through a checklist before the surgery to ensure the correct patient is on the operating table, and team members must agree on which procedure is being done and on which body part. Any hospital or other surgery center that does not comply with the new safety regulations risks losing JCAHO accreditation. The rules come in the wake of "growing reports of wrong-site, wrong-procedure and wrong-patient surgeries," according to the AP/Tribune. JCAHO has received 275 reports of wrong surgeries since 1999, and the number of incidents has steadily increased each year. Because JCAHO only receives such reports on a voluntary basis, it is not known exactly how many wrong surgeries occur each year (Neergaard, AP/Chicago Tribune, 6/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.