Increasing Compliance for OR Timeouts: 4 Tips

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Right before a procedure in the operating room, the medical team is supposed to take a "timeout" to go through a checklist to ensure they are prepared. The procedure was established several years ago by the Joint Commission when several wrong-site surgeries occurred.

Verras examined a hospital's timeout compliance after three "never-events" took place within the span of 10 months. Verras found the hospital had conducted timeouts since 2002. Although they were conducted regularly, they were not consistent. Medical teams did not always review all items on the checklist. There were also frequent distractions during the timeout, like someone playing music.  

In a four-month analysis, Verras identified 31 procedures for which there was some type of non-compliance to the timeout policy, resulting in a non-compliance rate of 2.5 percent. The hospital implemented the following best practices, and within two months the non-compliance rate fell to 0.3 percent.

• A revision of the timeout procedure and tracking form.
• Concentrated education for staff and physicians.
• Ongoing monitoring of the OR and throughout the facility, monitoring every area where timeouts were performed.
• A process requiring the CMO, chief of staff and/or chief of OR to meet individually with any physician or staff member who did not follow the timeout procedure.

More Articles on Hospitals, Checklists and Never-Events:

Healthcare Leaders Discuss Key Concepts to Police, Improve and Measure Quality
Anesthesiologist Who Developed Checklist Protocol Receives ABMS Award
The 5 "S's" to Creating an Efficient Hospital Environment

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