Composite Surgical Care Improvement Measure Shown to be Linked to Surgical Infection Rates

June 23, 2010

A retrospective cohort study reported in the June 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that the adherence to surgical improvements, pill measured by using a composite infection prevention score, is linked to a lower probability of postoperative infections.

The Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) is a national partnership of organizations whose aim is to improve surgical care by reducing surgical complications.  The SCIP measures can be found in the Specification Manual for National Hospital Quality Measures.

The aim of the JAMA study was to determine the association between SCIP process measures relating to infection prevention and postoperative infection rates. The authors state the study demonstrates “that although publicly reported adherence rates to SCIP process-of-care measures were associated with improved patient outcomes” while using aggregated measures, the individual item relationships were weak and lacked clinical significance.

The conclusion was that SCIP adherence measured through a global aggregated composite infection prevention score was associated with a lower probability of postoperative infection. Adherence measured by individual SCIP measures, however, was not associated with a significantly lower probability of infection. This is significant because SCIP measure adherence is currently publicly reported using individual process measures, not aggregated.

Reference:  Stulberg, J. J., Delaney, C. P., Neuhauser, D. V., Aron, D. C., Fu, P., & S. M. Koroukian. Adherence to Surgical Care Improvement Project Measures and the Association With Postoperative Infections. JAMA, 303(24): 2479-2485 (2010).

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