Study Proposes New Way To Measure Infection Prevention Efforts

The Wall Street Journal Health Blog: "Data showing how a hospital performs on certain measures [of post-surgical infection prevention] are publicly available. But, a study published in [the Journal of the American Medical Association] says, the publicly reported measures don't actually correlate with postop infection rates. In other words, picking your hospital on the basis of how often it administers antibiotics within an hour before surgery is not going to help you avoid an infection" (Hobson, 6/22).

HealthDay/Yahoo reports that the authors "wanted to know if the 'reported rates of adherence' of actually doing" six infection-control quality measures decreased the risk of infection. "The six measures include whether antibiotics were given an hour before surgery; whether the appropriate antibiotics were given; and whether the patients were shaved with a clipper rather than a razor. Data has overwhelmingly supported clippers for several decades, because they result in fewer microabrasions to the skin that could invite infection... The authors proposed a new way to measure infection prevention efforts" (Gardner, 6/22).

The study is available on the JAMA website.

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.