American College of Surgeons and Joint Commission Reduce Colorectal Surgical Site Infections

March 6, 2013 | Strategic Insights for Health System


A collaboration between the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare has reduced colorectal surgical site infections (SSIs) in seven healthcare organizations over two and a half years, preventing 135 SSIs and saving $3.7 million, according to a press release published on February 1, 2013. The hospitals reduced superficial incisional SSIs by 45% and all types of colorectal SSIs by 32%. Additionally, the average length of stay for a colorectal SSI decreased from 15 days to 13 days. Colorectal operations are commonly performed procedures, with great variation in performance, and were chosen for the collaboration because the prevalence of SSIs after these procedures are “disproportionately high” for patients. The group used robust process improvement (RPI) methods, which incorporates Lean Six Sigma and change management concepts, to measure the problem, identify contributing causes, and develop and test solutions in real-world scenarios. The facilities involved in the collaboration identified 34 different variables that increased the risk of these SSIs, such as the surgical procedure and antibiotic administration.

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