Hospital-specific surgical site infection (SSI) performance following colon surgery and abdominal hysterectomies can impact hospitals' relative rankings around quality metrics used to determine financial penalties. Current SSI surveillance largely focuses on SSI detected at the operative hospital.
Retrospective cohort study to assess the impact on hospitals' relative SSI performance rankings when SSI detected at non-operative hospitals are included. We utilized data from a California statewide hospital registry to assess for evidence of SSI following colon surgery or abdominal hysterectomies performed 3/1/2011-11/30/2013 using previously validated claims-based SSI surveillance methods. Risk-adjusted hospital-specific rankings based on SSI detected at operative hospitals versus any California hospital were generated.
Among 60,059 colon surgeries at 285 hospitals and 64,918 abdominal hysterectomies at 270 hospitals, 5,921 (9.9%) colon surgeries and 1,481 (2.3%) abdominal hysterectomies received a diagnosis code for SSI within the 30 days following surgery. 7.2% of colon surgery and 13.4% of abdominal hysterectomy SSI would have been missed by operative hospital surveillance alone. The proportion of individual hospital's SSI detected during hospitalizations at other hospitals varied widely. Including non-operative hospital SSI resulted in improved relative ranking of 11 (3.9%) colon surgery and 13 (4.8%) hysterectomy hospitals so that they were no longer in the worst performing quartile, mainly among hospitals with relatively high surgical volumes.
Standard SSI surveillance that mainly focuses on infections detected at the operative hospital causes varying degrees of SSI under-estimation, leading to inaccurate assignment or avoidance of financial penalties for approximately one in eleven to sixteen hospitals.