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

Preventing an all too common surgical site infection

Colorectal surgical site infections (SSIs) are among the most common and costly post-op complica­tions, increasing morbidity and mortality and driving up the cost of care. Preventing this type of SSI is difficult – hence national colorectal SSI rates in the 15% range.

Colorectal surgery is a common proce­dure across different types of hospitals, can have significant complications, but also pres­ents significant opportunities for improvement. Not exactly low-hanging fruit, but the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare decided to form an ambitious collaborative to reduce this critical group of SSIs.

“It’s been a challenging project as every­body knows in terms of surgical site infec­tions,” says Donise Musheno RN, MS, CPHQ, Robust Process Improvement Black Belt and Project Leader at the TJC Center for Transforming Healthcare. “The reason we tackled it is that it has been a problem for a long time. It was a significant amount of work, but at the end of day the surgeons were really engaged in the process. The nursing staff, the pharmacy staff, everyone was really engaged and pleased with the outcome. We are finding the same as we are now piloting the project.”

The final result of the proj­ect will be the development of a web-based tool in 2014 that will allow organizations across the country to access the work, the interventions and best prac­tices in prevention of colorectal SSIs.

For more on this story the October 2013 issue of Hospital Infection Control & Prevention