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Although the reporting of wrong site surgery is not mandatory in most states, some estimates put the national incidence rate, which includes wrong patient, wrong procedure, wrong site and wrong side surgeries, as high as 40 per week*.
This project was initiated in July 2009 by The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare and the Lifespan system in Rhode Island. The goal of the project was to improve the safeguards to prevent patients from wrong site, wrong side and wrong patient surgical procedures. In 2010, four additional hospitals and three ambulatory surgical centers joined the project. Reducing the risk of wrong site, wrong procedure and wrong patient surgery is critical to patient safety and the reputation of any health care organization that performs these high risk procedures. While wrong site surgery events are rare, they can be life altering for the patients who sustain them. Wrong site surgery should never happen. When it does, the health care organization is vulnerable to additional risk and potential costs, on top of which professional careers can be adversely affected.
*Chassin MR, Loeb JM: High-reliability health care: Getting there from here. The Milbank Quarterly, September 2013;91(3):459-490, (accessed November 10, 2013)
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