New AHRQ Toolkit Aims to Reduce Surgical Site Infections in Hospitals

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The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently released a new Toolkit To Promote Safe Surgery.

The evidence-based toolkit helps perioperative and surgical units identify opportunities for improvement and interventions to reduce surgical site infections (SSIs), making care safer. It was developed based on the experiences of frontline providers in approximately 200 hospitals who participated in a three-year national implementation project and successfully reduced SSIs by 25 to 40 percent. The toolkit was adapted from AHRQ’s Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) to the surgical setting. It includes customizable, practical, ready-made tools and how-to guidance.

The toolkit has two complementary guides—Applying CUSP To Promote Safe Surgery and Surgical Complication Prevention—that are designed to be used together and address adaptive and technical work, respectively.

According to AHRQ, technical work changes are “procedural aspects of care that can be explicitly defined, such as surgical skin preparation procedures,” while adaptive work is “designed to change the attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviors of the people who deliver care and improve safety culture within an organization, thereby enabling consistent use of evidence-based practices.”

Strategies from the toolkit can help prevent infections that may occur with colorectal surgery and hysterectomies, two surgical procedures tracked by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for hospital-acquired conditions.