Frequently asked questions

We’re always here to provide you with answers. If you have additional questions about the SurgiCount System, contact your Surgical sales representative.

FAQ

Smart sponges. Smart decision.

What’s the difference between barcode and RF technology?

One vital advantage is that each SurgiCount sponge or towel is individually barcoded with a unique ID, whereas radiofrequency (RF) sponges all share the same generic RF tag. Our unique IDs contain a wealth of smart data including: real-time reconciliation of each sponge; no duplicate counting or counting of sponges unrelated to your case; and the size, type and lot number for every sponge. This delivers 100% confidence that sponges counted out were the exact ones counted in.

How effective is SurgiCount Technology?

Since 2009, more than 550+ U.S. healthcare facilities have trusted the SurgiCount Safety-Sponge System, using 200 million of our sponges in 11 million procedures with zero retained surgical sponges. Additionally, clinical studies – including the largest non-sponsored study on retained surgical sponges – have demonstrated the SurgiCount System’s ability to help prevent miscounts and false correct counts.2

Why adopt sponge counting technology when manual miscounts are infrequent?

While manual miscounts are infrequent, they are frequently cited in retained surgical sponge (RSS) cases.1, 7, 20, 21, 26 Various study findings show miscounts and “false correct counts” – when numbers match and are perceived correct, but actually aren’t – occur once per 14 hours of operating time.20 Other findings show that miscounts occur in 88% of RSS cases and raise the likelihood of retained items by 100.1, 26 This reflects why retained surgical items despite correct counts is one of ECRI’s Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns and why retained items repeatedly remain the Joint Commission’s top sentinel event.29

How do I justify the cost?

The average malpractice impact for a retained surgical instrument, including corrective surgery, indemnity payments and legal costs, is $600,000 or $94.50 per procedure.12 And damage to a hospital’s image can be even more costly. SurgiCount Technology helps protect your facility and patients at an average cost of only $8-$10 per procedure.13

Is Stryker willing to share my investment risk?

Yes. Like SurgiCount Technology, our SurgiCount Promise rises above the norm: up to $5 million in product-liability indemnification and up to a three-year rebate on the incremental cost of implementing the SurgiCount System over your previous sponge spend.

What data and reports does the system provide?

This is another critical advantage over competing systems which only provide a confirmation number or “scan complete” message. We go far beyond, collecting more case data fields for unparalleled custom reporting.16 From individual cases to aggregated IDN data – or anywhere in between – our permanent, evidence-based reports document your counts, support compliance and third-party audits, inform CQI activities and validate inventory/budget planning.

What set up and cleaning is required?

Using SurgiCount Technology is as easy as placing the SurgiCount Tablet in the mount and attaching it to an I.V. pole. Once done, merely clean the tablet and the system is ready to use again. Unlike RF systems, you don’t need to manage or clean a detection mat, wand, sterile sleeves or cords, and there’s no extra patient handling to address high BMI or implanted devices.

Will this impact case time?

Actions involved with SurgiCount Technology mirror existing AORN and hospital manual count protocols.5 A non-sponsored study from the Mayo Clinic shows it adds only one second to mean count time (mean, 5 seconds to 4 for a non-barcoded sponge), but has no increase in overall case length since activities are done in parallel.2

What’s the stance of healthcare and standards organizations?

Studies and clinical databases show that sponges, in particular, are the #1 retained surgical item.1, 2, 7, 20, 21 Given this, AORN, ACS, ECRI, The Joint Commission, The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, The Leapfrog Group, No Thing Left Behind and even some state governments all call for continued improvements such as assistive technologies.

How can this technology strengthen staff communications?

From start to finish, SurgiCount Technology is singularly focused on each and every sponge. This results in an accurate count reconciliation at all times – even in the midst of staff changes. Crucially, it also includes notes and automatic email notifications for sponges intentionally left as wound packing, ensuring consistent communication to staff leaders for follow up.

  • Our unique IDs contain a wealth of smart data.

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