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JAMA. 2010 Jun 23;303(24):2479-85. doi: 10.1001/jama.2010.841.

Adherence to surgical care improvement project measures and the association with postoperative infections.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Jonah.Stulberg@case.edu



The Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) aims to reduce surgical infectious complication rates through measurement and reporting of 6 infection-prevention process-of-care measures. However, an association between SCIP performance and clinical outcomes has not been demonstrated.


To examine the relationship between SCIP infection-prevention process-of-care measures and postoperative infection rates.


A retrospective cohort study, using Premier Inc's Perspective Database for discharges between July 1, 2006 and March 31, 2008, of 405 720 patients (69% white and 11% black; 46% Medicare patients; and 68% elective surgical cases) from 398 hospitals in the United States for whom SCIP performance was recorded and submitted for public report on the Hospital Compare Web site. Three original infection-prevention measures (S-INF-Core) and all 6 infection-prevention measures (S-INF) were aggregated into 2 separate all-or-none composite scores. Hierarchical logistical models were used to assess process-of-care relationships at the patient level while accounting for hospital characteristics.


The ability of reported adherence to SCIP infection-prevention process-of-care measures (using the 2 composite scores of S-INF and S-INF-Core) to predict postoperative infections.


There were 3996 documented postoperative infections. The S-INF composite process-of-care measure predicted a decrease in postoperative infection rates from 14.2 to 6.8 per 1000 discharges (adjusted odds ratio, 0.85; 95% confidence interval, 0.76-0.95). The S-INF-Core composite process-of-care measure predicted a decrease in postoperative infection rates from 11.5 to 5.3 per 1000 discharges (adjusted odds ratio, 0.86; 95% confidence interval, 0.74-1.01), which was not a statistically significantly lower probability of infection. None of the individual SCIP measures were significantly associated with a lower probability of infection.


Among hospitals in the Premier Inc Perspective Database reporting SCIP performance, adherence measured through a global all-or-none composite infection-prevention score was associated with a lower probability of developing a postoperative infection. However, adherence reported on individual SCIP measures, which is the only form in which performance is publicly reported, was not associated with a significantly lower probability of infection.

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