For the fifth year in a row, Hospital for Special Surgery has an infection rate that is significantly lower than the New York State average for hip replacement or revision surgeries, according to the 2012 report on hospital infection rates just released by the State Department of Health. It is the only New York hospital to have achieved this result.
"As patients are becoming more engaged in choosing where to receive surgery, it is critical that they have access to data about which hospitals adopt best practices to keep patients safe. By making hospital infection rates transparent, New York State is giving patients access to a critical piece of information they need when making healthcare decisions," said Louis A. Shapiro, president and CEO. "As a national leader in orthopedics, our entire staff is committed to quality and to providing an environment for excellence in patient care and safety."
Surgeons at Hospital for Special Surgery performed the most hip replacement surgeries in New York State, with more than 4300 procedures. Among the 165 hospitals included in the report, Hospital for Special Surgery had a statistically lower surgical site infection rate of 0.46 percent compared with the state average of 1 percent for total hip replacement or revision hip procedures.
"At Hospital for Special Surgery, we perform almost four times more total hip replacement surgeries than any other hospital in New York State, and the most in the world," said Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Thomas P. Sculco. "We are highly committed to employing the most advanced techniques to prevent this devastating complication. We are also committed to research in finding new ways to prevent infection."
Hospital for Special Surgery's specialization in orthopedic surgery allows for systems that improve efficiency in surgical settings within each operating room, lowering surgical times and improving safety. Numerous best practices—many pioneered at Hospital for Special Surgery—have helped to keep infection rates low. The Hospital's anesthesiologists are leaders in using regional anesthesia for joint replacement, which limits anesthesia only to the surgical region, and reduces bleeding and surgical time.
"An infection prevention nurse is dedicated to the operating room and collaborates with the Perioperative Team, including surgeons, to ensure that all staff are competent to provide safe, quality patient care in activities such as insertion of catheters and preoperative skin preparation of the surgical site that prevent infection," explained Eileen Finerty, RN, nursing director for Infection Prevention and Occupational Health.
"All joint replacement procedures are performed skillfully and quickly. We utilize less invasive surgical procedures, which reduce operating time, lessen blood loss and lead to rapid recovery. More rapid surgery is another important factor in reducing infection," said Dr. Sculco.
During surgery, a patient's exposure to contaminants is minimized, because they are isolated from the environment by a specially designed Plexiglas enclosure, which helps to improve air flow and to restrict excess personnel at the surgical field. After surgery, the operating rooms are meticulously cleaned by staff who are regularly monitored for competency by the infection control nurse, and the infection prevention department ensures that heightened standards are maintained.
An electronic data monitoring program serves as a "first alert" system for new cultures and organisms that could pose a threat to patient safety.
New York State's strict regulatory and surveillance systems require hospitals to report certain hospital-acquired infections to the State Department of Health. This year's publication is the sixth annual report of hospital-acquired infections in New York State, but the fifth annual report to include hip replacement procedures. The report states that the data are made publically available each year to give people information about hospital performance that could help them make informed medical decisions.
View the full report from the New York State Department of Health at: https://health.data.ny.gov/