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New Method Proposed for Gauging Hospital Infection Rates
Date:6/22/2010

Current system doesn't accurately portray extent of the problem, study says

TUESDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Current measures of how well hospitals control post-operative infections don't reflect actual results, a new study contends.

The authors of the study in the June 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association propose a new way of reporting on infection control which, they say, would ultimately better reflect what's happening in hospitals.

This, in turn, would give patients more useful information with which to choose the right hospital for them. The data is already available on a publicly available Web site, the study authors said.

"We found that what is currently reported is not predictive of outcome," said study lead author Dr. Jonah J. Stulberg, a recent graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine who is about to begin his residency in the department of surgery. "Data on the Web site doesn't tell you whether you have a decreased level of infection . . . We've come up with a much stronger measure of quality care."

Dr. Clifford Y. Ko is director of the division of research and optimal patient care at the American College of Surgeons and a professor of surgery and health services at the UCLA Schools of Medicine and Public Health. He said: "The bottom line is that the metrics we're using to measure quality are not exactly as good as we thought they were. There was little or no correlation between doing the right thing and having a better outcome."

The American College of Surgeons did a similar study with similar findings a few years back and is now working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to come up with ways to better measure infection control at hospitals.

The Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) was established in 2006 to cut the rate of complications after surgery. It is based on 20 measures of pati
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