Surgical Site Infections Research

Surgical Site Infections Research | CPCE

The line of research is designed to determine the epidemiology of and improve the surveillance of surgical site infections (SSI) after ambulatory surgery. SSI are the second most commonly reported healthcare-associated infections in adults and children. Critical gaps in our understanding of SSI prevent the accurate identification of patients at increased risk for the development of SSI and appropriately targeting preventive interventions. Thus, the potential impact of improved SSI surveillance and prevention activities is great.

This area of research seeks to define the epidemiology of SSI after pediatric ambulatory surgery through comprehensive surveillance. After deriving this “gold standard,” we will determine the electronic health record (EHR) data elements needed to identify potential SSI. Finally, we will use the EHR data elements to create and test a vendor-agnostic EHR-based workstation to support SSI surveillance by infection preventionists.

Between February 2013 and August 2015, over 9,500 telephone interviews were conducted with the primary caretakers of children who had undergone ambulatory surgery.  Approximately 1.2 percent of surgeries has a possible post-operative infection. Manual review of the medical record by infection preventionists, as well as electronic data extraction from the EHR have also been completed.

What’s Next: Current and planned research projects in this area of research include:

  • Describing the epidemiology of SSI after ambulatory surgery
  • Determining feasibility of using of digital images to assess wounds for infection
  • Evaluating the capacity of EHR data to identify SSI
  • Assessing the use of perioperative antibiotic prophylaxis in ambulatory surgery

Funding:  Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Please contact Susan Coffin, MD, MPH, CHOP Attending Physician and Clinical Director of Infectious Diseases, for more information about this line of research.