How Banner Health reduced surgical site infections by 32% for some procedures

Incidence of surgical site infections declined at multiple hospitals across six states by 32.8% for some procedures after Phoenix-based Banner Health introduced a comprehensive surgical site infection prevention bundle, which included a focus on a surgical antimicrobial prophylaxis.

Experts from Banner Health introduced the bundle across 30 of its hospitals throughout Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming and applied it to 57,000 surgeries between January 2019 and December 2023, according to a news release shared with Becker's

At a June 4 Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology conference, the team presented its findings, including that the component of surgical antimicrobial prophylaxis — ensuring patients received the correct antibiotics of the right dosage at the proper time prior to surgeries — was critical to achieving a reduction in standardized infection ratios. 

When the health system first rolled out the bundle across its hospitals in 2019, it had a 67.1% of adherence to its protocols, but after years of repeating it, that rose to 82.2% adherence in 2023, according to the release. 

Not only did Banner see a decrease in surgical site infections, the bundle also helped patients achieve a length of stay that was four days shorter on average than before implementation, mortality rates decreased by 4.4% and hospital readmissions went down 3.9% within 30 days of surgery.

Throughout the implementation of the bundle, Banner Health leaders analyzed outcomes across four major surgery areas and infections went down across all patients, and especially among orthopedic patients. The implementation of the bundle led to:

  • A 32.8% drop in infection rates following hip surgeries.

  • A 17.4% drop in infection rates following colorectal and abdominal hysterectomy surgeries.

  • A 15.2% drop in infection rates following knee surgeries.

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