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TCHC joins Minnesota Time Out Campaign

Tri-County Health Care has joined the Minnesota Time Out Campaign, an effort by the Minnesota Safe Surgery Coalition to eliminate wrong-site surgical/invasive procedure events by conducting a robust Time Out for every patient, every procedure, every time.

The goal of the Time Out Campaign is to prevent wrong-site events through administrators, physicians and front-line staff joining together to hold each other accountable for conducting effective Time Outs for every patient undergoing all types of invasive procedures.

"The Time-Out process requires coordination between the surgeon or physician, the patient/legal guardian and staff from the operating room (OR), anesthesia, nursing, radiology personnel and other multidisciplinary teams," says Lois Lawson, TCHC surgery manager. "All personnel involved in the process must take an active role in this protocol. It is a collaborative team effort to ensure safe surgeries to patients of all ages, having any type of surgery or invasive procedure, in any setting within Tri-County Health Care."

"In recent years, the number of surgical/invasive procedure events, particularly wrong-site events, has increased in our state," said Joel Beiswenger, TCHC president and CEO. "Many of these events are related to the lack of an effective Time Out that includes visualization of the site mark and active participation by all procedural team members. We pledge to engage our staff at Tri-County Health Care in the Time Out process, to communicate Time Out expectations across our system, and to ensure that the five key Time Out steps are followed every time."

From October 2009 to October 2010, there were 31 wrong-site events reported in Minnesota, none of which occurred at Tri-County Health Care. More than 60 percent of those wrong-site procedures reported in Minnesota occurred on the wrong side (left vs. right), and nearly all were breakdowns in basic best practices: site mark not visualized; source documents not referenced; stating "I agree" rather than independent verification; and, in a number of cases, there was no process in place to conduct site marking and a Time Out.

"The Tri-County Health Care surgery department exceeds 2,000 procedures per year," says Lawson. "I am proud to be part of our team that works in a rural setting, with a high number of procedures annually and has zero reported events. It is a privilege to work with a staff with such a high level of commitment to patient safety."

Minnesota hospitals are required by law to report adverse health events, including wrong-site surgical/invasive procedures. Wrong-site events occur about once in every 60,000 invasive procedures performed, so they are rare. But the goal is to eliminate them entirely by following the Time Out process.

The Minnesota Time Out Campaign, with a tagline of "take 60 seconds to get it right (or left)," launched on June 15. The Minnesota Safe Surgery Coalition aims to eliminate wrong-site, wrong-procedure, and wrong-patient events within three years. It includes the Minnesota Hospital Association, the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Medical Association, the Minnesota Medical Group Management Association, and the MMIC Group.