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About Us > Quality of Care > Disease Specific Measures > Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP)

Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP)

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Millions of people have surgery each year. Every surgery has risks, but we know there are some that can be prevented. SCIP focuses on the prevention of surgical site infections, VTE (venous thromboembolism) and cardiac complications.

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. The following graph shows our results from January to December 2010 for comparative hospital and PinnacleHealth data and July through December 2011 for PinnacleHealth measures.

â–ºView Data: Surgery Quality Measures

Why is this important?

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Even if heart surgery patients do not have diabetes, keeping their blood sugar under good control after surgery lowers the risk of infection and other problems. "Under good control" means their blood sugar should be 200 mg/dL or less when checked first thing in the morning.
  • 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.
  • Certain surgeries increase the risk that the patient will develop a blood clot (venous thromboembolism). 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 cause death. To help prevent blood clots from forming after surgery, doctors can order treatments to be used just before or after the surgery. These include 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.