June 12, 2012

Contact: John Clayton

'Positive Pause' designed to prevent wrong-site surgery

CONCORD – The New Hampshire Health Care Quality Assurance Commission is urging hospitals throughout the state to take the opportunity to recognize "National Time Out Day" on Friday.

"'National Time Out Day' is intended to remind every member of a surgical team how critical it is to take a time out to confirm it's the correct patient, the correct procedure and the correct surgical site before every invasive procedure," said Anne Diefendorf, vice president for Quality & Patient Safety with the Foundation for Healthy Communities.

"We think of it as a positive pause," she added.

"All New Hampshire hospitals and surgical centers have already adopted what is known as the Surgical Safety Checklist and compliance rates are extremely high," Diefendorf said, "but 'National Time Out Day' is one more way to raise awareness about the importance of requiring the entire surgical team to pause and to communicate as a group to help prevent errors from occurring."

Wrong-site surgery and other preventable mistakes still occur in U.S. operating rooms, according to Diefendorf, which is why the "Time Out" effort was initiated by The Joint Commission, the World Health Organization and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) in 2004.