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Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP)

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Millions of people have safe surgical procedures each year, but every surgery has risks. The Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) is a national initiative focused on improving surgical care by significantly reducing post-operative complications.  Although some surgical complications are unavoidable, surgical care can be improved by following evidence-based practice recommendations and designing systems of care with safeguards.  PinnacleHealth’s SCIP team focuses on the prevention of surgical site infections, VTE (venous thromboembolism) and cardiac complications.

Measures that Make a Difference

Experts agree on seven standards of care for most adults who have surgery. Our SCIP team meets regularly to improve the surgical care we provide to our patients.

  • 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.
  • Discontinuing preventive antibiotics in a timely manner after surgery prevents antibiotic resistance. 
  • Discontinuing urinary drainage catheters in a timely manner after surgery prevents urinary tract infections. 
  • Even if heart surgery patients do not have diabetes, keeping blood sugar under good control (200 mg/dL or less when checked first thing in the morning) after surgery lowers the risk of infection and other problems.
  • Preparing a patient for surgery may include removing body hair from skin in the area where the surgery will be done. Medical research has shown that shaving with a razor can increase the risk of infection. It is safer to use electric clippers or hair removal cream.
  • To help prevent blood clots from forming after surgery, treatments can be given just before or after the surgery. These include blood-thinning medications and mechanical air filled sleeves that that help with blood flow in the legs.

Use of preoperative protocols and order sets and ongoing educationresulted in near perfect performance on the SCIP measures in 2014. Surgical Services continues to use a pre-operative antibiotic protocol to give the appropriate antibiotic according to national guidelines.  Time Out procedures and Surgical Safety checklists provide an opportunity to ensure preoperative antibiotics have been given in a timely manner.

In 2014, PinnacleHealth’s surgical site infection rates for all surgeries were within or below the CDC comparative/expected range.