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EHS launches radio frequency sponge-counting system
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Effingham Health System operating room staff prepare to show off the new radio frequency sponge-counting system. - photo by Photo provided

Effingham Health System announces that a new system used to detect surgical sponges has been implemented for its surgical suites.

RF Assure is a sponge-counting system that uses radio frequency waves to detect any sponges that may have been missed upon the conclusion of a surgery or invasive procedure. Surgical sponges are routinely used to soak up excess blood from incisions and surgical sites.

Prior to this technology, sponge retrieval has been a manual process dependent on a very careful count to assure that every sponge used was accounted for prior to closing the incision. While a careful count and a follow-up count are still used by surgical staff, a new technology is providing an extra layer of validation for those sponge counts. RF Assure (radio frequency) is a surgical detection system that scans a patient prior to final closure to insure that any foreign objects used during a surgery or procedure have been removed.

While the use of radio frequency detection does not replace the required audible and visual sponge counts performed by the surgical team, the scan adds another level of security to the surgery process.

“This is fast becoming a surgical standard of care.” said Patricia Parrish, OR manager at Effingham Health System. “We are among the first in the Coastal Empire to implement this technology, and we are pleased to be able to offer RF Assure to our surgical patients. Incidents involving retained surgical Items, or RSIs, are rare, but they can lead to infection or longer hospital stays after surgery. There is no substitute for the check and double-check system used for decades in surgery suites all over the world, but RF Assure seeks to improve those odds even more.”

Effingham Health System is comprised of five primary care physician locations, a nursing home, an imaging center, an open MRI, specialty physicians to include an orthopaedic surgeon and a urogynecologist, and ECB Occupational Medicine.

“We are constantly upgrading our services and equipment to meet the growing demands of our community.” said Norma Jean Morgan, CEO at EHS.  “Patient safety and excellence in care are our primary goals, and RF Assure is just another tool we employ to achieve the highest level of quality.”

For more information about Effingham Health System and the services available through their network of health care providers, visit the Web site at