St. Lukes Hospital Surgical Care Improvement Project in top 10 pct. of state

Published 7:46 pm Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Recently recognized by the NC Quality Center, St. Lukes Hospital is in the top 10 percent of N.C. hospitals with a Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) score of 96 percent, beating the national average of 86 percent.

SCIP is a national quality partnership of organizations interested in improving surgical care by significantly reducing potential surgical complications. It is a unique partnership that has been a transformational undertaking in health care.

St. Lukes officials say that research shows that a significant percentage of the nearly 30 million operations performed in the United States each year results in preventable, often life-threatening complications.

To maintain exceptional quality, St. Lukes Hospital joined a national effort initiated in 2005 to make surgical care quality a priority. A meaningful reduction in surgical complications across the nation depends on surgeons, anesthesiologists, perioperative nurses, pharmacists, infection control professionals, and hospital executives working together.

This project has certainly paid off! says Sandy Bulleit, RN, Director of Perioperative Services. We already provided wonderful patient care, but now we have the tools to prove it. The SCIP process works as a checklist and acts as a report card for hospitals. This information helps patients compare the quality and safety of care in North Carolina hospitals.

St. Lukes Hospital provides regular inservices for staff to reinforce knowledge about the SCIP guidelines which are to:

Give the correct antibiotic

for the procedure at the right

time and for the right number

of doses.

Repeat the antibiotic for cases

that are long or when blood loss

is great.

Shower twice before surgery

with a special soap and do not

shave hair.

Keep the blood glucose

(sugar) levels within normal

range.

Use preventive measures to

prevent blood clots.

Use preventive measures to

prevent pneumonia.

Warm patients before and

during surgery.

If a patient takes heart

medicine known as a beta

blocker, continue it throughout

the surgical stay.

We have been doing these things long before the guidelines were put into place, but its nice to know we are meeting all the benchmarks, says General Surgeon Jim Holleman, MD, chief of staff at St. Lukes Hospital.

St. Lukes officials say thatpostoperative infection is a major cause of patient injury, mortality and health care cost. An estimated 2.6 percent of nearly 30 million operations are complicated by surgical site infections each year. Infection rates of up to 20 percent are reported for certain types of operations. Each infection is estimated to increase a hospital stay by an average of seven days and add more than $3,000 in charges.

SCIP is sponsored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in collaboration with a number of other national partners serving on the steering committee, including the American Hospital Association (AHA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and others.

Although some surgical complications are unavoidable, surgical care can be improved through better adherence to evidence-based practice recommendations and more attention to designing systems of care with redundant safeguards.

The ultimate goal of the partnership is to save lives by reducing the incidence of surgical complications by 25 percent by the year 2010, explains Bulleit. And I do believe we will get there.