Reducing surgical site infections through a multidisciplinary computerized process for preoperative prophylactic antibiotic administration

Alexandra L B Webb, Rene L. Flagg, Aaron S. Fink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


Background: Surgical site infections (SSIs) result in significant postoperative morbidity and mortality. Although many of these infections can be prevented by timely administration of preoperative antibiotics, data suggest that many patients do not receive such therapy. Methods: A multidisciplinary team was convened that reviewed published guidelines, made antibiotic recommendations, and addressed administration issues. Responsibility for antibiotic administration was shifted from preoperative nursing staff to the anesthetist. Electronic quick orders were developed to encourage appropriate antibiotic selection and simplify order creation. Results: Timely administration of preoperative antibiotics improved from 51% to 98% from February 2005 to February 2006. Appropriate antibiotic administered improved from 78% to 94%. The clean wound infection rate decreased from 2.7% to 1.4% over the same time period. Conclusion: A multidisciplinary approach to prophylactic antibiotic use, including computer-guided decision support, facilitates appropriate preoperative antibiotic use, resulting in a significant decrease in surgical wound infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-668
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number5 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Nov 2006



  • Computer-guided decision support
  • Surgical infection prophylaxis
  • Wound infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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