Archive February 2020 XXI, No. 2

How Do You Enhance Patient Safety?

Readers reveal the solutions they use to augment the efforts of their protective-minded surgical teams.

Daniel Cook

Daniel Cook, Executive Editor


FIRST, DO NO HARM New products and technologies can help your staff deliver on their pledge to provide safe patient care.

The inherent challenge of providing safe surgical care increases in the fast-paced, pressure-cooker world of outpatient surgery, where the thin line between expected outcomes and adverse events can be erased with a split-second lack of focus, communication failure or honest mistake.

To find out what products and technologies facilities are using to support surgical teams in their efforts to first do no harm, we asked readers to share which safety-minded solutions are found in their ORs and reprocessing rooms. Here's what they identified as essential tools in their continuing efforts to protect patients from preventable harm.

  • Non-invasive monitoring. Pulse oximetry and capnography monitors are invaluable adjuncts to basic vital signs monitoring, according to Mike Morel, CRNA, APRN, MSNA, PhD(c), co-chief of anesthesia at Volunteer Community Hospital in Martin, Tenn. Capnography measures end-tidal carbon dioxide (ETCO2) — the concentration of CO2 in exhaled breaths — to help providers confirm oxygen exchange is occurring in the lungs and alert them to a possible obstructed airway. Pulse oximetry measures blood oxygen levels to provide a real-time indication of how well patients are oxygenated.

Dr. Morel, a sworn devotee of both monitoring platforms for years, acknowledges the technologies are neither new nor innovative. He also doesn't care. "I'm an ol' dawg," says the 68-year-old Dr. Morel in a drawn out southern twang. "These monitors have saved many a patient."

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