$1.5 Billion in Annual Costs of Surgical Site Infections Can Be Reduced, Study Says


FORT WORTH, Texas -- Research published in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC) says a systematic approach to preparing patients for surgery can reduce both secondary, hospital-acquired patient infections and related healthcare expenses across the United States.

Lawton A. Seal, PhD, SM (AAM), senior program manager of the Surgical Division at HEALTHPOINT, Ltd., a Texas-based specialty pharmaceutical company, has published clinical findings on preoperative preparation practices and costs, "A Systems Approach to Preoperative Surgical Patient Skin Preparation," in the April 2004 issue of AJIC. Deborah Paul-Cheadle, RN, CIC is second author.

The paper deals with preventative measures that address the mounting surgical site infections (SSIs) that account for approximately 500,000 hospital-acquired infections in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While skin asepsis technology cannot eliminate deaths from such infections, the study reported in the paper shows that a systems approach can help prevent these hospital-based infections.

"Too many news stories about hospital infection rates focus on time constraints as compromising infection prevention," says Seal. "The TRISEPTINr and ACTIPREPr Systems approach supports ease-of-use while effectively countering multi-drug resistant Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria as well as viruses and during the critical wound healing phase."

"We now have clinical data that demonstrates the positive impact the system can have in helping hospitals reduce their SSI rates," states Seal.

The release of this new study comes at a time when hospitals are looking for ways to reduce the number of hospital-acquired infections, exhibited by heavy involvement in surgical infection prevention initiatives headed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the CDC, two groups that are working together to develop a national healthcare quality improvement project to prevent post-operative infections.

SSIs carry a heavy financial burden, costing U.S. hospitals in excess of $1.5 billion in additional medical treatment each year. Patient stays increase 20-fold and costs quintuple when SSIs are involved in the surgical recovery process. The CDC estimates an average of 12 days and more than $27,000 in additional costs as the result of one of the most common SSIs, Staphylococcus aureus infection. Those costs extend to the patient's recovery period outside the hospital, with 18 percent of SSI cases leading to disability for a period of more than six months.

HEALTHPOINT's preoperative patient skin preparation system products included in the study is comprised of TRISEPTIN Hand and Body Antiseptic and ACTIPREP One-Step Preoperative Prep which are based on a patented technology called TrizenolT. The technology is proving effective for healthcare professionals preparing both their patients and themselves for hundreds of thousands of surgical procedures every week.

An alcohol-based system, TRISEPTIN Hand and Body is much quicker to use than older technologies and is proving more effective as well. The system is sold nationwide by HEALTHPOINT, patent holder for TRISEPTIN.

The system offers a powerful alternative to iodine and chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG). Trizenol has three key elements: a fast-acting, broad-spectrum antimicrobial active ingredient -ethyl alcohol; emollients with surfactants to condition the skin and remove dirt and organic debris; and, a preservative system to prolong the antimicrobial action of alcohol.

The system includes:

1. TRISEPTIN Hand and Body Antiseptic is used by the patient to shower prior to surgery to help reduce the microorganisms that can cause surgical site infections. The iodine-free, CHG-free formula reduces the risk of irritation and allergic reactions and kills viruses as well as bacteria. It is available in retail pharmacies.

2. ACTIPREP, a one-step preparation solution used by staff in the operating room, cleans and prepares the entry area on the patient. ACTIPREP reduces the time from the four minutes necessary for traditional preps to about two minutes.

Source: Healthpoint

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