Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) now includes conductive fabric warming in its recommendations to keep surgical patients warm

December 15, 2009

The Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) recently amended its guidelines for perioperative temperature management by changing the definition of active warming to now include “forced-air warming, conductive over-the-body active warming, or warm water garments.”

According to the manufacturer HotDog USA, HotDog® conductive fabric patient warming is the only FDA-cleared conductive blanket commercially available in the United States. The American Society of Anesthesiologists provided the technical advice supporting the endorsement.

“This is a very exciting development for improving outcomes in surgical patient care,” says Brent Augustine, president of HotDog USA. “The market is eager for an alternative to restrictive hot-air-blowing technologies, and this is an endorsement by the health authorities on the safety and effectiveness of conductive fabric patient warming.”

HotDog warming utilizes patented ThermAssure™ conductive fabric technology, originally designed for radar absorption by the aerospace industry. Air-free HotDog warming is equally effective as forced-air warming, but consumes a fraction of the energy and eliminates disposable waste—providing both environmental and economic savings.

SCIP guidelines, as detailed in the Specifications Manual for National Hospital Quality Measures published jointly by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Joint Commission, are designed to improve surgical outcomes.

SCIP-Infection-10 relates to maintaining patients’ core temperatures within the range of normal. Research shows a significant reduction in post-operative infections when patients are kept warm.

Current SCIP standards provide the basis for payment rates for general acute care hospitals that are paid for inpatient services under the Inpatient Prospective Payment System effective for discharges beginning October 1, 2009. SCIP-Inf-10 applies to patient temperature management.

The standard measures the percentage of patients for “whom either active warming was used intraoperatively for the purpose of maintaining normothermia or who had at least one body temperature equal to or greater than 96.8°F (36.0°C) recorded within the 30 minutes immediately prior to or the 15 minutes immediately after anesthesia end time.”

In 2008 Medicare began refusing payment for many hospital-acquired infections. “Hospitals are being squeezed,” added Augustine. “To improve outcomes, SCIP requires warming almost all surgical patients, but the cost of disposable warming blankets is simply too much for hospitals to bear. We believe that SCIP added conductive warming to give hospitals a money-saving alternative.”

HotDog is reusable, helping to cut warming costs approximately 50 percent less than forced air and requires only one-tenth as much energy, the company reports.

For more information on HotDog patient warming technology call 952.746.1720 or visit

Source: Business Wire