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NJ DHSS reports on surgical infection prevention in their 2007 Hospital Performance Report

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On Thursday, the State of New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) released the 2007 New Jersey Hospital Performance Report. This report included data on New Jersey hospitals performance in preventing potentially life-threatening surgical infections in patients.

According to the 2007 report, hospital performance overall continues to improve as the gap between high- and low-performing hospitals narrows. New Jersey also exceeded national scores in 2006 in nearly all care measures for heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia, as well as surgical infection prevention.

Legislation was introduced recently requiring New Jersey hospitals to report to DHSS when in-patients develop infections. The proposed legislation also requires that DHSS report each hospital’s infection rates in the annual Hospital Performance Report.

The 2007 Hospital Performance Report shows how often 80 hospitals used widely recognized best practices in treatment. These tests and treatments – such as quickly giving aspirin to heart attack patients – are considered the nationally recognized standard of care.

Hospitals were scored on two measures of surgical infection prevention – giving patients antibiotics within one hour before surgery, and stopping antibiotic treatment within 24 hours after surgery ends (48 hours in the case of cardiac surgery).

New Jersey patients properly received preventive antibiotics 91 percent of the time, compared with 87 percent nationally. Antibiotics were properly stopped 86 percent of the time, compared with 79 percent nationally.

Hospitals were scored on 17 other cardiac and pneumonia care measures. In 2006, New Jersey’s median overall pneumonia care score rose to 92 from 87 in 2005. The congestive heart failure treatment score was 91, compared with 86 the previous year. The heart attack score improved to 96, from 94 previously. A median overall score is the middle score. It means half of all hospitals have a higher score and half have a lower score than the median.

Other highlights based on the report:

  • Sixty-four of the state’s 80 hospitals scored 100 on testing pneumonia patients’ blood oxygen level within 24 hours of arrival.
  • Twenty hospitals gave aspirin to every heart attack patient upon arrival.
  • The greatest gain since last year’s report — 13 percent — was in giving heart failure patients written instructions at discharge on issues such as diet, medications and follow-up care.
  • The greatest gain since 2003 – 81 percent — was in assessing pneumonia patients, and giving them pneumococcal vaccine, if needed. Pneumococcal vaccine can prevent future cases of pneumonia.
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