Statewide Collaborative to Reduce Surgical Site Infections: Results of the Hawaii Surgical Unit-Based Safety Program

Della M. Lin, Kathryn A. Carson, Lisa H. Lubomski, Elizabeth C. Wick, Julius Cuong Pham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Surgical site infections (SSIs) after colorectal surgery are common, lead to patient harm, and are costly to the healthcare system. This study's purpose was to evaluate the effectiveness of the AHRQ Safety Program for Surgery in Hawaii. Study Design: This pre-post cohort study involved 100% of 15 hospitals in Hawaii from January 2013 through June 2015. The intervention was a statewide implementation of the Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program and individualized bundles of interventions to reduce SSIs. Primary end point was colorectal SSIs. Secondary end point was safety culture measured by the AHRQ Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture. Results: The most common interventions implemented were reliable chlorhexidine wash, wipe before operation, and surgical preparation; appropriate antibiotic choice, dose, and timing; standardized post-surgical debriefing; and differentiating clean-dirty-clean with anastomosis tray and closing tray. From January 2013 (quarter 1) through June 2015 (quarter 2), the collaborative colorectal SSI rate decreased (from 12.08% to 4.63%; p < 0.01). The SSI rate exhibited a linear decrease during the 10-quarter period (p = 0.005). Safety culture increased in 10 of 12 domains: Overall Perception/Patient Safety (from 49% to 53%); Teamwork Across Units (from 49% to 54%); Management-Support Patient Safety (from 53% to 60%); Nonpunitive Response to Error (from 36% to 40%); Communication Openness (from 50% to 55%); Frequency of Events Reported (from 51% to 60%); Feedback/Communication about Error (from 52% to 59%); Organizational Learning/Continuous Improvement (from 59% to 70%); Supervisor/Manager Expectations and Actions Promoting Safety (from 58% to 64%); and Teamwork Within Units (from 68% to 75%) (all p < 0.05). Conclusions: Participation in the national AHRQ Safety Program for Surgery in the state of Hawaii was associated with a 61.7% decrease in colorectal SSI rate and an increase in patient safety culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-197.e1
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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