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Surveillance of healthcare-associated infections is often performed by manual chart review. Semiautomated surveillance may substantially reduce workload and subjective data interpretation. We assessed the validity of a previously published algorithm for semiautomated surveillance of deep surgical site infections (SSIs) after total hip arthroplasty (THA) or total knee arthroplasty (TKA) in Dutch hospitals. In addition, we explored the ability of a hospital to automatically select the patients under surveillance.
Multicenter retrospective cohort study.
Hospitals identified patients who underwent THA or TKA either by procedure codes or by conventional surveillance. For these patients, routine care data regarding microbiology results, antibiotics, (re)admissions, and surgeries within 120 days following THA or TKA were extracted from electronic health records. Patient selection was compared with conventional surveillance and patients were retrospectively classified as low or high probability of having developed deep SSI by the algorithm. Sensitivity, positive predictive value (PPV), and workload reduction were calculated and compared to conventional surveillance.
Of 9,554 extracted THA and TKA surgeries, 1,175 (12.3%) were revisions, and 8,378 primary surgeries remained for algorithm validation (95 deep SSIs, 1.1%). Sensitivity ranged from 93.6% to 100% and PPV ranged from 55.8% to 72.2%. Workload was reduced by ≥98%. Also, 2 SSIs (2.1%) missed by the algorithm were explained by flaws in data selection.
This algorithm reliably detects patients with a high probability of having developed deep SSI after THA or TKA in Dutch hospitals. Our results provide essential information for successful implementation of semiautomated surveillance for deep SSIs after THA or TKA.
Automated surveillance of healthcare-associated infections reduces workload and improves standardization, but it has not yet been adopted widely. In this study, we assessed the performance and feasibility of an easy implementable framework to develop algorithms for semiautomated surveillance of deep incisional and organ-space surgical site infections (SSIs) after orthopedic, cardiac, and colon surgeries.
Retrospective cohort study in multiple countries.
European hospitals were recruited and selected based on the availability of manual SSI surveillance data from 2012 onward (reference standard) and on the ability to extract relevant data from electronic health records. A questionnaire on local manual surveillance and clinical practices was administered to participating hospitals, and the information collected was used to pre-emptively design semiautomated surveillance algorithms standardized for multiple hospitals and for center-specific application. Algorithm sensitivity, positive predictive value, and reduction of manual charts requiring review were calculated. Reasons for misclassification were explored using discrepancy analyses.
The study included 3 hospitals, in the Netherlands, France, and Spain. Classification algorithms were developed to indicate procedures with a high probability of SSI. Components concerned microbiology, prolonged length of stay or readmission, and reinterventions. Antibiotics and radiology ordering were optional. In total, 4,770 orthopedic procedures, 5,047 cardiac procedures, and 3,906 colon procedures were analyzed. Across hospitals, standardized algorithm sensitivity ranged between 82% and 100% for orthopedic surgery, between 67% and 100% for cardiac surgery, and between 84% and 100% for colon surgery, with 72%–98% workload reduction. Center-specific algorithms had lower sensitivity.
Using this framework, algorithms for semiautomated surveillance of SSI can be successfully developed. The high performance of standardized algorithms holds promise for large-scale standardization.
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