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The Cost of Surgical Site Infection

Mon, 11/21/2011 - 8:19am
David Clare

David Clare is director of marketing for Covidien's Wound Care division.

In 2005 it was reported that 2.7 percent of all surgical procedures are complicated with a surgical site infection (SSI). A SSI can potentially put a patient at a significant risk, hinder optimal wound healing and increase costs by more than 300 percent. As a result of this growing concern, we have seen many mandatory reporting policies enforced. Thankfully, surgeons have a variety of products to choose from that may prevent SSIs and ensure proper wound healing.

The average incremental cost of an SSI is estimated to be $25,546. Cost factors include the cost to treat an infected wound, increased hospital stay time and readmission. In 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid made the decision to no longer reimburse healthcare facilities for costs associated with hospital acquired conditions (HAC). These new incremental costs to the hospital, combined with the fact that SSIs account for approximately 20 percent of the HAC’s in U.S. hospitals, have many healthcare facilities taking action to fight infection and prevent SSIs in their facility.

In order to prevent these infections, it may be beneficial for a healthcare facility to take a prophylactic approach to infection control. There are many effective antimicrobial dressings in the market that cost pennies per day, may reduce the risk of SSIs, and help avoid the exorbitant costs of SSIs. They are available in the same type of dressing that a healthcare facility uses every day, but with the added benefit of an effective antimicrobial. These types of antimicrobial dressings that require no change in protocol allow ease of use for surgeons and clinicians. This helps ensure the dressing is applied correctly and is able to work effectively.

Although there is a risk for SSIs after a surgical procedure, there are effective, affordable and easy to use options available to help minimize the risk. While a facility may be concerned about the purchase price of an antimicrobial dressing, they must also factor in all the potential incremental costs of not using one.

 

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