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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Adherence to Surgical Care Improvement Project measures and the association with postoperative infections.

Stulberg JJ, Delaney CP, Neuhauser D, et al. JAMA. 2010;303:2479-85.

Public reporting of quality measures is now widely used as a means of spurring hospitals to invest in patient safety and quality improvement efforts; however, it remains unclear if reported measures truly indicate a higher quality of care. In this study of more than 400,000 patients, researchers analyzed the relationship between adherence to recommended measures to prevent postoperative surgical infections and the subsequent development of such infections. They found that infection rates decreased only when all recommended interventions were carried out; performance of individual interventions did not seem to affect infection rates. Checklists—a relatively simple tool to ensure that all recommended steps of a process are carried out for every patient—initially gained fame as a means of preventing central line infections, and have subsequently been demonstrated to reduce surgical site infections.