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Surgical Care Improvement/Surgical Infection Prevention

Hospitals can reduce the risk of infection after surgery by making sure they provide care that’s known to get the best results for most patients, including:

  • Giving the recommended antibiotics at the right time before surgery;
  • Stopping the antibiotics within the right timeframe after surgery;
  • Maintaining the patient’s temperature and blood glucose (sugar) at normal levels; and
  • Removing catheters that are used to drain the bladder in a timely manner after surgery.

Hospitals can also reduce the risk of cardiac problems associated with surgery by:

  • Making sure that certain prescription drugs are continued in the time before, during, and just after the surgery. This includes drugs used to control heart rhythms and blood pressure.
  • Giving drugs that prevent blood clots and using other methods such as special stockings that increase circulation in the legs.

Hospital Discharges 7/1/2013 through 6/30/2014

Outpatients Having Surgery Who Got An Antibiotic At The Right Time (Within One Hour Before Surgery)

Billings Clinic 99%
State of Montana Avg 98%
United States Avg 98%

Hospitals can prevent surgical wound infections. Standards for care say that surgery patients who get antibiotics within an hour of their surgery are less likely to get wound infections.

Getting an antibiotic earlier, or after surgery begins, is not as effective. This measure shows the percentage of patients who got an antibiotic in this time period.

Surgery Patients Who Were Given An Antibiotic At The Right Time (Within One Hour Before Surgery) To Help Prevent Infection

Billings Clinic 100%
State of Montana Avg 99%
United States Avg 99%

Surgical wound infections can be prevented. Medical research shows that surgery patients who get antibiotics within the hour before their surgery are less likely to get wound infections.

Getting an antibiotic earlier, or after surgery begins, is not as effective. Hospital staff should make sure surgery patients get antibiotics at the right time. This measure shows the percentage of patients who got an antibiotic to prevent infection in this time period.

Surgery Patients Whose Preventive Antibiotics Were Stopped At The Right Time (Within 24 Hours After Surgery)

Billings Clinic 100%
State of Montana Avg 99%
United States Avg 98%

Antibiotics are often given to patients before surgery to prevent infection.

Taking these antibiotics for more than 24 hours after routine surgery is usually not necessary. Continuing the medication longer than necessary can increase the risk of side effects such as stomach aches and serious types of diarrhea. Also, when antibiotics are used for too long, patients can develop resistance to them and the antibiotics won't work as well.

This measure shows the percentage of patients who stopped getting preventive antibiotics within this time period.

Patients Who Got Treatment At The Right Time (Within 24 Hours Before or After Their Surgery) To Help Prevent Blood Clots After Certain Types of Surgery

Billings Clinic 100%
State of Montana Avg 99%
United States Avg 99%

Many factors influence a surgery patient's risk of developing a blood clot, including the type of surgery. When patients stay still for a long time after some types of surgery, they are more likely to develop a blood clot in the veins of the legs, thighs, or pelvis. A blood clot slows down the flow of blood, causing swelling, redness, and pain. A blood clot can also break off and travel to other parts of the body. If the blood clot gets into the lung, it is a serious problem that can sometimes cause death.

Doctors can order treatments including blood-thinning medications, elastic support stockings, or mechanical air stockings that help with blood flow in the legs. These treatments need to be started at the right time, which is typically during the period that begins 24 hours before surgery and ends 24 hours after surgery.

This measure shows the percentage of patients who received these treatments this time period.

Outpatients Having Surgery Who Got The Right Kind of Antibiotic

Billings Clinic 100%
State of Montana Avg 98%
United States Avg 98%

Hospitals can prevent surgical wound infections. Medical research has shown that certain antibiotics work better to prevent wound infections for certain types of surgery.

Hospital staff should make sure patients get the antibiotic that works best for their type of surgery.

This measure shows the percentage of patients who got the right antibiotic during surgery.

Surgery Patients Who Were Taking Heart Drugs Called Beta Blockers Before Coming To The Hospital, Who Were Kept On The Beta Blockers During The Period Just Before and After Their Surgery

Billings Clinic 99%
State of Montana Avg 97%
United States Avg 98%

It is often standard procedure to stop taking usual medications for a while before and after surgery. But if patients who have been taking beta blockers suddenly stop taking them, they can have heart problems such as a fast heartbeat. For these patients, staying on beta blockers before and after surgery makes it less likely that they will have heart problems.

This measure shows the percentage of patients who remained on beta blockers within this time period.

Surgery Patients Who Were Given The Right Kind of Antibiotic To Help Prevent Infection

Billings Clinic 99%
State of Montana Avg 99%
United States Avg 99%

Surgical wound infections can be prevented. Medical research has shown that certain antibiotics work better to prevent wound infections for certain types of surgery.

This measure shows the percentage of surgery patients who were given the right antibiotic during surgery.

Surgery Patients Whose Urinary Catheters Were Removed On The First Or Second Day After Surgery

Billings Clinic 100%
State of Montana Avg 99%
United States Avg 98%

Sometimes surgical patients need to have a urinary catheter, or thin tube, inserted into their bladder to help drain the urine. Catheters are usually attached to a bag that collects the urine.

Surgery patients can develop infections when urinary catheters are left in place too long after surgery.

Standards of care say that most surgery patients should have their urinary catheters removed within 2 days after surgery to help prevent infection.

This measure shows the percent of surgery patients whose urinary catheters were removed on the first or second day after surgery.

Patients Having Surgery Who Were Actively Warmed In The Operating Room or Whose Body Temperature Was Near Normal By The End of Surgery

Billings Clinic 100%
State of Montana Avg 100%
United States Avg 100%

Hospitals can prevent surgical wound infections and other complications by keeping the patient’s body temperature near normal during surgery. Medical research has shown that patients whose body temperatures drop during surgery have a greater risk of infection and their wounds may not heal as quickly.

Standards of care say that patients should have their body temperature normal or near normal during the time period 30 minutes before the end of surgery to 15 minutes after anesthesia ended. This measure shows the percent of patients whose body temperature was normal or near normal within this time period.

The percentage includes only patients whose history and condition indicate the treatment is appropriate. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about your treatment.

For more information about heart health, check:

Related Quality Information

For help in making good decisions about your care, compare Billings Clinic to other Health Care Organizations by visiting Hospital Compare or HealthGrades.

Consumer Reports Ranks Hospital Safety. See how Billings Clinic fares in the Nation in the Consumer Reports Article.

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