Florida hospitals use radio frequency to prevent surgical mistakes

By Mike Miliard
04:06 PM

Good Samaritan Medical Center and West Boca Medical Center are the first two hospitals in South Florida to use radio frequency (RF) detection technology in their operating rooms to prevent and detect foreign items inadvertently left inside a patient during surgery.

Good Samaritan and West Boca are implementing the RF Surgical Detection System from Bellevue, Wash.-based RF Surgical Systems, as an adjunct to the standard practice of manual counting, in an effort to enhance patient safety in all surgical suites at the two hospital systems.

“Radio-frequency detection technology is an important patient safety monitoring system that Good Samaritan is using to help us deliver the safest possible patient care,” said Mark Nosacka, CEO of Good Samaritan. “There is a growing body of data indicating that use of this technology is linked with enhanced patient safety. Our surgeons and nurses are excited about introducing this new patient safety tool into our operating rooms.”

Results from 1,600 patients in the largest prospective multi-center study on the effectiveness of radio-frequency detection technology to improve surgical counts and staff wound closure confidence were recently presented at the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress meeting.

Interim conclusions demonstrate that RF detection can speed identification and reduce the use of radiation (X-rays) to locate missing sponges and retained surgical items regardless of whether the manual counts were accurate.

“Our number one goal is zero incidents,” said Mitch Feldman, CEO of West Boca Medical Center. “The system allows us to accurately scan patients to ensure that no surgical item is left behind post-surgery while promoting staff confidence and compliance.”

Cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006, the RF Surgical Detection System was the first medical device solution to address the detection of retained surgical objects in patients. It safely and accurately reads through deep cavity tissue, fluids and bone to detect if any radio frequency tagged surgical sponges, gauze or towels remain in a patient following surgery.

The system consists of a self-calibrating console, hand-held wand, RFmicro-tags and gauze, sponge supplies and is designed for open-cavity surgeries including emergency, trauma, labor and delivery. To date, it has been used in more than a million surgical procedures nationwide.

“RF Surgical is very impressed with the level of commitment from the leadership team driving these two hospitals in South Florida to raise the bar on patient care,” said Steve Subiry, director of marketing, RF Surgical Systems. “We are gratified that our market leading technology has been adopted by Good Samaritan and West Boca, and we are committed to supporting these hospitals’ leadership in patient safety.”