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Electronic reminders can help patients prevent surgical site infections
Date:8/1/2014

CHICAGO (August 1, 2014)The use of electronic reminders such as text messages, emails or voicemails is highly effective at getting surgical patients to adhere to a preadmission antiseptic showering regimen known to help reduce risk of surgical site infections (SSIs), according to a first-of-its-kind study published in the August issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Each year approximately 400,000 SSIs occur and lead to a death rate approaching nearly 100,000 according to data sources cited by study authors. To help reduce the risk of these dangerous infections, clinicians recommend that surgical patients take antiseptic showers with chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) 24 to 48 hours before admission. CHG is beneficial because it reduces the microbial burden on the surface of the skin and, thereby, the risk of intraoperative wound contamination.

"SSI risk reduction really involves a holistic approach and the preadmission shower is an important component of that comprehensive prevention program. So, if a patient excludes one of the components in this process, the benefit of the surgical care could be affected," said lead study author Charles E. Edmiston, PhD, professor of surgery and hospital epidemiologist, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

"In general, getting patients to comply with this preadmission cleansing strategy is a challenge throughout health care," Dr. Edmiston said. "While patients want to be compliant, they will often forget to fulfill this preadmission requirement. So, that's why we looked to new technology for a solution. When you use a prompt like texting or emailing, you make the patient an intimate partner in the health care process."

For the study, researchers recruited 80 healthy volunteers who were randomized to one of four skin-antiseptic showering groups. Electronic alerts were sent as voicemails, text messages or emails, with text messages being the most popular method (80%) among vol
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Contact: Sally Garneski
pressinquiry@facs.org
312-202-5409
American College of Surgeons
Source:Eurekalert

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