Surgical Care

The Surgical Care Improvement Project is a national quality partnership of organizations focused on improving surgical care by reducing complications. The Joint Commission and U.S. Department of Health & Human Services agree on specific measures performed by your hospital which can improve the outcomes of a person receiving surgical care. Your hospital and/or physician will determine which treatments and medications are appropriate to improve your outcome.



Measure: Timely Preoperative Antibiotic Administration
(Percent of patients receiving a prophylactic antibiotic within one hour prior to surgical incision)
There is risk of infection when patients undergo surgery. It is shown that patients receiving an antibiotic one hour prior to incision helps prevent surgical infections.


Measure: Appropriate Antibiotic Selection
(Percent of patients receiving the appropriate prophylatic antibiotic for their surgery)
Current guidelines detail which antibiotics should be administered for certain procedures. Hospitals can significantly reduce the risk of infection by administering the appropriate antibiotic for each surgery.


Measure: Antibiotic Discontinuation after 24 hours
(Percent of patients whose antibiotic(s) are stopped within 24 hours of surgery ending)
Studies show that it is not necessary to continue antibiotics more than 24 hours after a surgery. Administering this medication beyond that point increases the risk of side affects and can cause some bacteria to become resistant to those medications.


Measure: Heart surgery patients whose blood sugar is kept under good control in the days right after surgery
(Percent of patients whose blood sugar is kept under good control in the days right after surgery)
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" measns their blood sugar should be 200 mg/dL or less when checked first thing in the morning.


Measure: Surgery patients needing hair removed from the surgical area before surgery, who had hair removed using a safer method (electric clippers or hair removal cream - not a razor
(Percent of patients who receive a safe method of hair removal)
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.


Measure: Surgery patients whose doctors order treatments to prevent blood clots after certain types of surgeries
(Percent of patients whose doctors order the correct treatments to prevent blood clots after certain types of surgeries)
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.


Measure: Surgery patients who receive treatment at the right time (within 24 hours before or after their surgery) to help prevent blood clots after certain types of surgery
(Percent of patients who receive the right treat within the right time period to help prevent blood clots after certain types of surgery)
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.Treatments to help prevent blood clots from forming after surgery 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.


Measure: Surgery patients who were taking heart drugs called beta blockers before coming to the hospital, who are kept on the beta blockers during the period just before or after their surgery
(Percent of patients who were taking heart drugs called beta blockers before coming to the hospital, who are kept on the beta blockers during the period just before or after their surgery)
It is often standard procedure to stop patients' usual medications for awhile before and after their surgery. But if patients who have been taking beta blockers suddenly stop taking them, they can have heart problems such as a fast heart beat. For these patients, staying on beta blockers before and after surgery makes it less likely that they will have heart problems.


Measure: Outpatients having surgery who receive an antibiotic at the right time - within one hour before surgery
(Percent of outpatients receiving a prophylactic antibiotic withinone hourto surgical incision)
Hospitals can prevent surgical wound infections. Medical research shows that surgery patients who get antibiotics within the hour before their surgery are less likely to get wound infections.The timing is important: getting an antibiotic earlier, or after surgery begins, is not as effective. Hospital staff should make sure patients get antibiotics at the right time.


Measure: Outpatients having surgery who receive the right kind of antibiotic
(Percent of outpatients receiving the appropriate prophylatic antibiotic for their surgery)
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.