June 2003 AAOS Report

AAOS co-sponsors summit on wrong-site surgery

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), AAOS and other medical associations focused on Wrong-Site Surgery during a summit meeting in Chicago on May 9, 2003. The participants examined several aspects of wrong-site surgery, including the scope and reasons for the problem, steps to mitigate or eliminate the problem and steps for a lasting resolution. The goal was to develop a universal protocol for preventing wrong-site surgeries. Other health care organizations participating in the summit included the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the American College of Physicians, the American College of Surgeons and the American Dental Association.

The AAOS was among the first to call for eliminating wrong-site surgery in the United States, issuing a statement in September 1997 and reaffirming it in 2002. In 2003, JCAHO adopted the elimination of wrong-site, wrong-patient, wrong-procedure surgery as one of its National Patient Safety Goals. It recommended a preoperative verification process, such as a checklist, to confirm that appropriate documents are available. It also endorsed the AAOS ideas of marking the surgical site, and involving the patient in the marking process.

JCAHO is preparing a draft set of principles and a protocol, which will be distributed to summit participants for comments and posted on the its Web site before being presented to the JCAHO Board of Commissioners for approval in July.


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