Three Rivers Health showcases ‘best-in-class’ medical equipment during media day

THREE RIVERS — Three Rivers Health hospital administrators and operating room staff showcased some of the hospital’s ‘best in class’ medical equipment during Three Rivers Health Media Day on Wednesday, Sept. 19.
Joni Coney, manger of Preoperative Services, Pain Management at Three Rivers Health, and Dr. Jessica Puckett, chief of staff at Three Rivers Health, highlighted three products Wednesday, including the SurgiCount Safety-Sponge System, the Cactus Smart Sink System and The Neptune E-SEP Smoke Evacuation Pencil.
The SurgiCount Safety-Sponge System utilizes “uniquely identified sponges and towels to provide a precise, real-time count so the surgical team can close a procedure — and a patient — with confidence.”
Coney said Three Rivers’ medical staff always counts sponges and “sharps” like needles and other instruments used during surgery but SurgiCount is an added safety feature that helps “ensure that we don’t have any retained sponges.”
“In one of every 5,500 surgeries there’s a retained instrument or sponge — so what better way to help our patients then to have that extra little step that we use?” Coney said.
“We still physically count everything but what happens with SurgiCount is everybody who is in the operating room has a name badge, so you scan your badge and then you also scan the patient information such as a sticker with the patient’s barcode — that’s all loaded into the system — then we’ll scan the sponges, we pop them open and physically count them.
“Once the surgery is done and we’re getting ready to close, we will count the sponges again and then we scan the sponges out. SurgiCount will detect if we’re missing a sponge, it tells you right away that you only have four sponges instead of five. So that’s just a little extra safety feature for us.”
SurgiCount, which is a Stryker product, comes with a guarantee from Stryker called the “SurgiCount Promise,” according to Jason Davies, senior brand manager with Stryker.
“We call it the SurgiCount Promise — so if the hospital is using SurgiCount and they have a retained surgical sponge as a result of a product failure we (insure) them up to $5 million — and we also rebate them the cost of what they spent to have the equipment (at the hospital) and cut them a check, no questions asked. We’re putting our money where our mouth is,” Davies said.
Davies added that Three Rivers Health has invested in “innovative products,” going beyond the standard level of care, and is one of a select group of hospitals around the country using the types of technology presented on Wednesday.
“There are just a couple of handfuls of customers really across the country that have adopted (the systems showcased today). […] Three Rivers sees a problem, they address it. They do what’s right and they make decisions to adopt technologies like these. Three Rivers (Health) is really the only hospital that comes to mind in this geography of West Michigan that has adopted (these Stryker safety products). So they’re an early adopter on the cutting edge of patient safety healthcare,” Davies said.
Cactus Smart Sink System, another Stryker product showcased during media day, “securely captures partially administered or unused controlled substances and renders them non-retrievable and unusable.” The system helps “reduce the risk of drug diversion and improve patient safety while also reducing the impact on the environment.”
“With the opioid epidemic this is a great deal for us to use but (the Cactus Smart Sink System) also helps our environment,” Coney said.
“When we would go to (dispose) of a medication — if a patient doesn’t need a whole dose of medication — we were spraying it in the sink, we were putting it in the sharps container with medication still left in it — so people with those addictive personalities have been known — I worked with a person in a facility who actually would take the medications […] because they were addicted. With this system, staff spritzes the medication into the sink and it immediately makes it inactive (and unusable.”
Dave Shannon, Three Rivers Health’s interim CEO, said the Cactus Smart Sink System also helps prevent drugs from getting into the local water supply.
“We’re also finding that drugs are getting into the water supply in certain areas, so this is kind of our part to eliminate that part of it,” Shannon said.
The Neptune E-SEP Smoke Evacuation Pencil is “an electrosurgical and smoke evacuation pencil — all in one; the perfect balance of precision and protection.” The pencil only weighs half an once and “delivers the performance surgeons need from a cutting and coagulation tool with the added healthful benefit of precise evacuation.” Coney said reducing the amount of smoke created from cauterizing during a surgery protects both hospital staff as well as patients.
“As we’re doing surgery and cauterizing that creates smoke — which studies have found recently is hazardous because there are carcinogens in there — so we want to protect our staff and our patient from that as well. Being in an OR (operating room) all day around that smoke is like smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, so if we can protect our staff and our patients from that then that’s what we want to do,” Coney said.
Shannon said the addition of “cutting edge patient safety technology” only fortifies the hospital’s efforts to ensure the safety of its staff as well as its patients.
“We focus on safety every day. We have a five-minute meeting every morning to make sure that anything unusual that’s happening —we have a huddle — and we discuss anything unusual that is happening that could possibly impact any of our patients or our employees. We have a really great staff of physicians; we have a really great staff of employees, and patient safety comes first — but physician safety, employee safety, that’s 1A and 1B — we focus on that all the time,” Shannon said.
“And luckily too, we have an auxiliary that also helps us purchase some of these pieces of equipment, and other equipment that allows us to afford these (pieces of equipment). So it’s a whole hospital family situation here when it comes to our patients, our patient’s safety, and how we deal with our communities.”
Alek Frost can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or

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