Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems Inc. Launches Online Tool to Help Reduce SSIs


Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems Inc., today launched the Safe Surgery Initiative (, a website for providers, health plans and employers to provide customizable tools geared to educate providers and patients about preventing surgical site infections (SSI).

Surgical site infections are a major source of postoperative illness. Each year, approximately 500,000 surgical patients develop SSIs. Although they are preventable, SSIs continue to be a major source of postoperative illness and, less frequently, a cause of death among patients in the United States.(1)

This web-based program was designed to engage patients, providers, health plans and employers, providing educational tools to encourage patients to take an active role in their own healthcare. A team of representatives from a leading healthcare system, a national insurer, a large multi-national employer, and a business coalition were consulted in the development of the program content, with academic guidance and program management provided by the Jefferson School of Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

"This important resource provides customizable, bi-lingual patient materials in one place for everyone involved with a patient's recovery after surgery," says David B. Nash, MD, MBA, dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health. "By making the right information available when it's most needed, people can become more engaged in their own healthcare."

The toolkit is customizable in several different ways. Patient-centered resources include general information about how to initiate meaningful conversations with the doctor, how to prepare for surgery and what signs to look for after surgery to help avoid an SSI. Providers, health plans and employers can select tools that are most relevant to their organization, and can customize the tools with their affiliation logo. The toolkit also includes resources for health care providers to help foster awareness among staff and clinicians of key processes and practices that can prevent SSIs.

SSIs are the second-most common hospital-acquired infection, accounting for 20 percent of all infections occurring among hospital patients.(2) An estimated 47 percent to 84 percent of SSIs occur after discharge. The key to reducing SSIs is for patients, providers, health plan and employers to work together.

"Educating the public on the importance of following patient safety guidelines, such as practicing extra cleanliness prior to surgery, can proactively reduce SSIs and help ensure a safer hospital experience," says Ingrid Clark Durfy, president of strategic account management for Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems Inc. "The Safe Surgery Initiative shares the goals of a number of broader nationwide initiatives that support improving patient care and reducing cost, such as those supported by the National Quality Forum and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement."


1. Institute of Medicine. Crossing the quality chasm: A new health system for the 21st century. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2001.

2. Klevens RM, Edwards JR, Richards CL. Estimating health care associated infections and deaths in U.S. hospitals, 2002. Public Health Reports. 2007;122

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