Don't rush through surgical timeouts, medical groups warn

The Joint Commission and Association of periOperative Registered Nurses are urging surgical teams to not rush through safety "timeouts" as they tackle a backlog of surgeries postponed amid the pandemic. 

The timeouts are meant to prevent wrong-site surgeries and entail surgical teams pausing before an operation to confirm the correct procedure is about to be done on the correct part of the correct patient.

"AORN has heard from members concerned that time outs in 2022 are being conducted hastily, likely as a result of surgical teams working through a backlog of operations postponed by the pandemic," AORN and The Joint Commission wrote in a joint statement released June 1. 

Travel nurses are also increasingly staffing operating rooms right now and may not feel comfortable speaking out about concerns, they said.

Healthcare organizations must follow best practices and work to reduce the risk of wrong-site surgeries, which have significantly increased in the U.S. in the last three years, the groups said. The joint statement also offered actions administrators and surgical teams can take to improve timeout usage.

The Joint Commission and AORN issued the reminder ahead of National Time Out Day on June 8.

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