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KPI of the Day – Healthcare: % Surgical site infection rate

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surgical site

Definition

Measures the rate of superficial surgical site infections, as a percentage of the total infections in the hospital.

Purpose

To indicate the quality of healthcare services and the efficiency of prevention measures for surgical site infections. The relevance of this indicator is given by its negative effects such as mortality, morbidity and costs attributable to surgical-site infections.

Although surgical site infections are among the most preventable healthcare-associated infections, they still represent a significant burden in terms of patient morbidity and mortality, and can quickly become sizeable additional costs to health systems and service payers worldwide if not handled properly.

Recommendations

Surgical site infections are one of the most common patient risk factors in hospitals worldwide. The primary target audience for this indicator is the surgical team, meaning surgeons, nurses, technical support staff, anesthetists and any professionals directly providing surgical care. Pharmacists and sterilization staff members can also take note of the recommendations or guidelines provided by this indicator.

Measuring this KPI is of great importance to healthcare professionals who are responsible for developing national and local infection prevention protocols and policies, such as policy-makers and infection prevention and control (IPC) professionals.

The consequences of surgical site infections, in general, are prolonged length of stay, higher risk of death and tremendous excess costs for the hospital unit in question. Among the surgical factors that contribute to high % Surgical site infection rates are the duration of surgery, the urgency of the procedure, the surgical technique employed, the surgical volume or prior surgery procedures.

Even though it is highly unlikely that one can fully eradicate these type of infections, there are practices that can reduce their frequency greatly. In this respect, some recommendations include the following:

  • Ensure there is a standard protocol for all surgical patients;
  • Establish prevention strategies for adverse events;
  • Write down clear policies and procedures regarding patient safety;
  • Make sure that patient visitors know and respect internal procedures;
  • Practice a multi-disciplinary approaches towards surgical site infection prevention;
  • Always provide preclinical and clinical data to support perioperative care;
  • Set up functional systems to ensure policies and procedures are followed;
  • Closely monitor traffic, air handling and operating room set up.

  If you are interested in enhancing your knowledge about the Healthcare industry you can find more than 1500 KPIs related to this topic on smartKPIs.com. These KPIs are divided into 8 clusters, according to which subcategory they are relevant for. For more up to date information and the latest trends, you can access our latest publication for this industry, the Top 25 Healthcare KPIs – 2016 Extended Edition.

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