Reliability and feasibility of registered nurses conducting web-based surgical site infection surveillance in the community: A prospective cohort study

Apr 13, 2022

Corrine McIsaac, PhD, RN

Published Journal Articles

Surgical site infections increase health care costs, morbidity, and mortality in 2% to 5% of surgical patients. Standardised post-surgical surveillance is rare in community settings, causing under-reporting and under-serving of the documented 60% of surgical site infections occurring following hospital discharge.

This study evaluated feasibility and concordance (inter-rater reliability) of paired registered nurses using a web-based surveillance tool (how2trakSSI, based on validated guidelines) to detect surgical site infections for up to 30 days after surgery in a cohort of 101 patients referred to Calea Home Care Clinics in Toronto, Canada, March 2015 to July 2016.

After paired registered nurse assessors used the tool-less than 10 minutes apart to measure concordance 5 to 7 days postoperatively, they provided feedback on its usefulness at two teleconference discussion groups September 6 to 7, 2016. Overall concordance between assessors was 0.822, remaining consistently above 0.65 across assessor education level and experience, patient age and weight, and wound area.

Assessors documented 39.6% surgical site infection prevalence 5 to 7 days after surgery, confirming clinical need, relevance, reliability, and feasibility of using this web-based tool to standardise community surgical site infection surveillance, noting that it was user-friendly, more efficient to use than traditional paper-based tools and useful as a registry for tracking progress.

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