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Volume 7, Number 2—April 2001
THEME ISSUE
4th Decennial International Conference on Nosocomial and Healthcare-Associated Infections

Prevention is Primary

Automated Methods for Surveillance of Surgical Site Infections

Richard Platt*†Comments to Author , Deborah S. Yokoe†, Kenneth E. Sands‡, and the CDC Eastern Massachusetts Prevention Epicenter Investigators
Author affiliations: *Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; †Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; ‡Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Main Article

Table 1

Goals and needs of surgical site infection surveillance (2)

Goal Principal needs
Control of clusters
Identify clusters of infection. Real-time detection of events. Attack rates and case-mix adjustment are not a high priority. Should include all patients.
Support of quality improvement programs
Establish baseline infection rates. Sufficient precision to identify absolute differences of a few percent. Typically includes all patients.
Comparison of institutions or surgical specialties. Case-mix-adjusted attack rates. Identical detection methods that are applied and interpreted identically across sites. Sufficient precision.
Evaluate control measures (in the usual situation of no randomized trial). Comparably ascertained rates over time.
Research on epidemiology of infection
Identify risk factors. Detailed data on many attributes of patients and procedures. Population can be small, but must be representative.

Main Article

¹The CDC Eastern Massachusetts Prevention Epicenter includes Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, CareGroup, Children's Hospital, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Partners Healthcare System, Tufts Health Plan, and Harvard Medical School. Investigators include L. Higgins, J. Mason, E. Mounib, C. Singleton, K. Sands, K. Kaye, S. Brodie, E. Perencevich, J. Tully, L. Baldini, R. Kalaidjian, K. Dirosario, J. Alexander, D. Hylander, A. Kopec, J. Eyre-Kelley, D. Goldmann, S. Brodie, C. Huskins, D. Hooper, C. Hopkins, M. Greenbaum, M. Lew, K. McGowan, G. Zanetti, A. Sinha, S. Fontecchio, R. Giardina, S. Marino, J. Sniffen, E. Tamplin, P. Bayne, T. Lemon, D. Ford, V. Morrison, D. Morton, J. Livingston, P. Pettus, R. Lee, C. Christiansen, K. Kleinman, E. Cain, R. Dokholyan, K. Thompson, C. Canning, D. Lancaster.

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