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Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 1994 Nov;15(11):717-23.

Surveillance for surgical site infections: the uses of antibiotic exposure.

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Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.


Conventional methods of surveillance for surgical site infections are resource intensive, thus creating an incentive to develop simpler alternatives. Antibiotic exposure may serve as a satisfactory marker for a physician's belief that infection is present and, therefore, may be a more efficient, and perhaps more accurate, measure than identification of an explicit diagnosis in the medical record. Surveillance strategies that use antibiotic exposure may provide resource-efficient adjuncts for surveillance of surgical site infections or be used in selected circumstances as substitutes for conventional surveillance methods.

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