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J Hosp Med. 2011 Apr;6(4):183-9. doi: 10.1002/jhm.846.

Feasibility of audit and feedback to reduce postoperative urinary catheter duration.

Author information

  • 1Division of Health Care Policy Research, University of Colorado Denver, School of Medicine, Denver, Colorado, USA. Heidi.Wald@ucdenver.edu



Indwelling urinary catheter duration is an important risk factor for catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs).


To audit patient-level postoperative catheter duration and measure the impact of its feedback to nursing staff on postoperative catheter duration and CAUTI rates.


Preobservational and postobservational study.


Two surgical units at an urban academic medical center.


Postoperative patients with indwelling urinary catheters.


Audit and feedback of postoperative urinary catheter duration to nurses during an educational session.


Patient-level postoperative catheter duration obtained from electronic clinical documentation. Mean catheter duration and proportion of patients with postoperative catheter duration <3 days were determined.


Following the intervention, the mean postoperative catheter duration decreased (1.7-1.4 days [P = 0.01] on orthopedic surgery, and 2.6 to 2.2 days [P = 0.01] on general surgery). The proportion of patients with catheter duration <3 days increased significantly on orthopedic surgery (86-92% [P = 0.04]), and nonsignificantly on general surgery (56-63% [P = 0.14]). When adjusted for length of stay differences, the odds of catheter duration <3 days on general surgery increased from 1.38 (P = 0.14) to 1.69 (P = 0.02). The CAUTI rates did not significantly decrease. The rate on orthopedic surgery dropped from 8.9 infections per 1000 device-days to 0 (confidence interval [CI], -1.1 to 18.3); on general surgery the rate was constant at 7 infections per 1000 device-days (CI, -12.1 to 10.8).


Audit and feedback of aggregated patient-level urinary catheter duration determined from electronic documentation may prove effective in improving urinary catheter management for surgical patients.

Copyright © 2010 Society of Hospital Medicine.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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