A Story with a message *
As a team, we are aiming to improve the maternity care within the UK by creating a system allowing the reduction in human error during surgical procedures. Retained swabs are avoidable harm to patients but with many variables often occurs leaving patients sustaining harm and suffering.
Reports such as the Ockenden review show that though there is initiatives to improve the care of patients there is much to be done to reduce risks. With icount and other systems in place alongside trained and motivated staff this will deliver safe and high-quality environment and care.
‘Never events’ are indicators used to show the requirement of superior systems at all levels encouraging interdisciplinary, multi-professional engagement with the user and a patient-centric approach.
As a team, we are developing on more concepts based around this holistic approach.
A Simple Intuitive Cost-Effective Solution to Prevent Surgical Items Accidentally Left Behind
Patent published UK IPO and WIPO
Safer by Design
iCount makes it easy to do the right thing.
York Health Economic Consortium, an independent, highly reputed organisation has done a detailed cost-benefit analysis. Although these events are not common, the litigation, legal costs associated, morbidity and staff cost amount to several million per year. We intend to make it available at a sustainable and cost-effective price which is much lower than the economically justifiable, cost-neutral price as demonstrated by this analysis.
This will bring significant cost savings to the NHS.
Winners of 'Collaboration of the Year' and
highly commended in the 'health and wellbeing' category at the Staffordshire and Keele University
'Breaking the Mould' awards celebrating Promising innovations
#KeeleBTMAwards Dec 2020
Winners of the 'RCOG Sir William Gilliatt award' in the poster category at the RCOG World Congress 2021
Winners of the 'One to Watch' MedilinkBusiness awards 2022
Patent granted February 2022
We believe in Co-design and Co-production
A Usability study was done in High Fidelity Simulation Clinical environment (2020) by MedtechNIHR, University hospital Birmingham showed positive feedback leading to design changes and prototype iteration. Business Bridge, Keele University provided the initial 'Seed funding' for prototype development.
When Patients, Carers, Nurses, Midwives, Doctors, healthcare service managers, Engineers, Research academics, Business developers, Universities, Funding bodies, Technology development organisations come together....Amazing things happen
Patient Public Involvement (PPI) done by NIHR Surgical MIC, Leeds (2020)
Some of the comments from the healthcare service users were :
"It is shocking that surgical swabs are still left behind in this day and age. The first case series was reported in 1884. We thought that we should have overcome this problem by now"
"It would be good to have a failsafe engineering solution rather than just rely on counting which is susceptible to human error."
Patients and healthcare service users provided some excellent suggestions for user-centric design, integration into the current workflow and about raising awareness about patient safety
We used these for developing a systems engineering approach
*Although the story is based on real stories, names and situations have been changed.Any resemblance to real persons is purely coincidental
Over 100 retained surgical items every year in England
The USA -over 3000 every year. Canada -around 160 every year.
Thousands of these incidents over the world happen every week.
The commonest item left behind is a ‘surgical swab or sponge’.
(published NHS England/Improvement data)
Effects are pain, infection, re-operation, psychological trauma, inability to bond with the baby, long term discomfort and rarely, death. Retained swabs are called surgical "Never Events" which should never really happen.
iCount is a registered trademark (UK Intellectual property Office) with patent published (UK IPO) and with complete freedom to operate
Our Collaborators and Supporters
National reports references:
1. Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch(HSIB) is the first in the world to carry out independent healthcare investigations to improve healthcare at the system level.Their recent report highlights a common ‘Never Event’ that leaves women at risk of harm after childbirth.Click here - HSIB report puts a spotlight on the recurrent problem of retained swabs after childbirth.
2. Surgical Never Events. NHS Improvement (2018). Learning from 38 cases occurring in English hospitals between 2016 and 2017.
3. UK NHS National Patient Safety Agency. Rapid response report NPSA/2020/RRR012.Reducing the risk of retained swabs after childbirth and perineal suturing.
4. WHO Safe surgery Guidelines - Safe Surgery saves lives (2009) recommend checking and documenting whether the count is correct but recognises the dual error of leaving an item inside the patient and a counter-balancing discount resulting in a 'false correct' count.
WHO encourages using alternative methods for tracking and counting surgical swabs.
5. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Surgical Safety indicators - retained surgical swabs.
6. Reducing the risk of retained swabs after vaginal birth. British Medical Journal 2010;341:c3679
7. US Joint Commission report: Preventing unintended retained foreign objects