Researchers Urge More Infection Reporting

Most U.S. states still don’t require monitoring and reporting of surgical site infections and of the 21 states that do, only eight make the information easily accessible to consumers. That’s the conclusion of researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who conducted their nationwide survey last fall. Researchers found that for the eight states with robust public reporting programs, the data only address two to seven procedures. Few states require reporting of infections following colon surgery, despite the fact that these surgeries have the highest infection rates. And only one state-Ohio-requires reporting of complications following gall bladder surgery, despite its being among the most common surgeries in the U.S. The researchers argue that widespread mandatory public reporting of surgical infection rates will incentivize hospitals to improve performance and attract patients. They cite the dramatic decline in hospital death rates that took place in New York 20 years ago, following public reporting of hospital-specific mortality rates for coronary artery bypass surgery. The study by Martin Makary, MD, MPH and colleagues is available online at the website of the Journal for Healthcare Quality (www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-JHQ.html).