Automating the monitoring of surgical site infections using variable life-adjusted display charts.
J HOSP INFECT
119 - 124.
We describe a software tool specifically developed to support the monitoring and reporting of the occurrence of surgical site infections (SSI) in hospitals. The tool uses data collected routinely by a London teaching hospital as part of its infection surveillance system, which includes post-discharge follow-up. Based on these data, the tool is used to generate graphs showing cumulative infections over time and variable life-adjusted display (VLAD) charts that account for the expected specialty average infection risk. The user can select, along with other options, the definition of infection used in the preparation of the graphs. Using an illustrative example of SSI monitoring in orthopaedic surgery, we demonstrate the tool and its intended use to trigger further scrutiny rather than draw firm conclusions. We show that the tool has the ability to generate departmental debate, which should ultimately lead to the increased safety of surgical patients. We recommend adopting the tool and VLAD charts wherever surgical site surveillance is continuous. (C) 2011 The Healthcare Infection Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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