September 20, 2017

Risk assessment system from private industry identifies SSI risks in ASCs

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

A risk-assessment system designed to avoid harm in private industry (ie, Socio-Technical Probabilistic Risk Assessment [ST-PRA]), was used by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)-funded researchers to identify practices likely to pose infection risks in ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs).

The ST-PRA ranks failure points (events) according to their contribution to SSIs. The event, “Failure to protect the patient effectively,” which included several failure points, had the highest SSI risk. Nearly 52% of SSIs were caused by this failure.

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The researchers identified five major components of this failure and designed an intervention that targets:

  • improvements in skin preparation
  • proper administration of antibiotics
  • staff training in infection control principles, including practices for preventing glove punctures and procedures to ensure removal of watches, jewelry, and artificial nails.

Background: The Socio-Technical Probabilistic Risk Assessment, a proactive risk assessment tool imported from high-risk industries, was used to identify risks for surgical site infections (SSIs) associated with the ambulatory surgery center setting and to guide improvement efforts.


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