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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

Joint Commission identifies best practices to stop the scourge of surgical site infections

Some 500,000 U.S. patients develop surgical site infections (SSIs) annually and more than 10,000 of them die. It is generally estimated that roughly half of all SSIs are preventable using evidenced-based interventions, but many facilities have not adopted such measures.

“The current literature indicates that many hospitals have yet to adopt evidence-based practices to decrease SSIs,” says Kelly Podgorny, DNP, RN, project director in the Joint Commission’s Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation, and one of the principle authors of a new implementation guide on preventing SSIs.

Working with 17 accredited hospitals to test and trial SSI prevention measures, the Joint Commission recently issued a guide designed for health care organizations implementing its national patient safety goal on SSIs (NPSG.07.05.01).

The guide is based on the results from the Joint Commission’s “SSI Change Project,” which focused on identifying effective practices for preventing SSIs. Overall, 23 measures were identified under three overriding themes: Leadership, Practitioner-Focused, and Process Improvement. The 23 measures resulted in at least a 30% reduction in SSI rates for one surgical procedure for at least one year in the participating hospitals.

For more on this story see the July issue of Hospital Infection Control & Prevention