Health Care, Manufacturing, and Technology

Hospitals absorb surgical safety system

August 10, 2017
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The SurgiCount Safety-Sponge System is used in over 550 hospitals and has accounted for nearly 200 million surgical sponges. Courtesy Stryker Corp.

A new surgical safety system is being used to improve patient care in more than 550 hospitals nationwide.

Stryker Corp. in Kalamazoo announced that its SurgiCount Safety-Sponge System is being implemented in hundreds of hospitals and has accounted for nearly 200 million surgical sponges in the past five years.

The 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 — after accounting for all the sponges used during the process.

There are an estimated 11 incidents of surgical sponges being left inside patients every day in the United States, resulting in unnecessary pain and suffering and an average annual cost of $2.4 billion to the health care system, according to Stryker research. Based on this research, Stryker said its SurgiCount has prevented an estimated 1,375 retained surgical sponges and has saved the health care industry more than $825 million.

Unlike the traditional manual counting procedure, which relies on a whiteboard that is erased at the end of each procedure, a record of the system-verified correct count is maintained in the hospital’s SurgiCount 360 software so surgeons, nurses and hospital administrators have a permanent record of the verified count.

“The successful implementation of SurgiCount at more than 550 hospitals nationwide demonstrates a growing trend toward hospitals using technology to strengthen patient-safety protocols,” said Nate Miersma, director of surgical safety at Stryker Surgical. “SurgiCount can help protect a hospital’s patients, staff and bottom line by significantly reducing the risk of the most common surgical error, retained sponges.”


Stryker Corp., located in Kalamazoo, offers a diverse array of innovative products and services in orthopedics, medical and surgical, and neurotechnology and spine care that help improve patient and hospital outcomes. Stryker products are used in more than 100 countries around the world.

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