SIP measures now posted on Hospital Compare site

Hospitals reporting SI data will grow rapidly

Are you collecting data on surgical infection prevention (SIP)? If so, there is a new resource to find out how your organization compares with others. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Hospital Quality Alliance have added SIP measures to their Hospital Compare web site (

In addition to the original 17 measures reported since April 2005, the site now offers data on two new SIP infection prevention measures — prophylactic antibiotic received within one hour prior to surgical incision and prophylactic antibiotics discontinued within 24 hours after surgery end time — and a new pneumonia measure for appropriate initial antibiotic selection.

"Just under 700 hospitals are reporting on the SIP measures right now," reports Nancy Foster, vice president of quality and patient safety policy for the Washington, DC-based American Hospital Association. "We are expecting that number to grow rapidly."

The two new SIP measures are identical to the measures being collected as part of the Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP), a project designed to reduce the incidence of postoperative complications by 25% by 2010. The measures are also identical to those required by CMS and JCAHO. "There is a common focus on important issues of quality," says Foster. "We believe that these measures will offer great insight into how hospitals ensure that patients get the right preventive steps."

For instance, getting an antibiotic an hour before incision is one of the most effective ways to reduce infections for all patients undergoing even minor surgery, she says. "That is very critically important, and I am sure there is room for improvement. Another tricky part is making sure the antibiotic gets stopped at the appropriate time frame so we don’t create more super bugs."

Comparative benchmark data

Organizations are already sharing information with each other about successful changes they have made to improve care of heart attack and pneumonia patients. The same can now be done with SIP, says Foster.

"You can see how your hospital compares and look for opportunities to improve. You will know the names of the hospitals that have better scores, and can call up the infection control professional and ask for strategies," she suggests.

Now, quality professionals can provide administrators with comparative benchmark data that they didn’t have before. "The leadership team should be receiving this data, along with quality improvement and infection control," she says. "Hospitalists, surgeons and anesthesiologists will be vitally interested in this information as well."

[For more information, contact:

  • Nancy Foster, Vice President, Quality and Patient Safety Policy, American Hospital Association, 325 7th Street, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20004. Telephone: (202) 638-1100. E-mail:]