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News Room: Press Releases

Virtua program improves quality and safety for patients

People who come to Virtua to have surgery can prepare with confidence knowing special safety measures are being taken to prevent surgical infections. Memorial's surgical care infection project, or SCIP, began in 2003 under a Joint Commission recommendation for patient safety in surgery. The program states patients undergoing surgery for colon, total joint replacement, hysterectomy, vascular and spine cases receive between one to three doses of antibiotics at precise times before and after surgery. One dose is given with 60 minutes of the start of surgery. Within 24 hours, the doses are completely administered and stopped. These measures ensure that patients who undergo surgery, who are susceptible to infections and complications from infections, have added protection against infection. So far, the program has been successful in three main goals of the program:
  1. Giving the appropriate antibiotic
    As of July, 2008, the program has had a 97% success rate compared with a 74%success rate in 2003.
  2. Pre-operation antibiotics given within 60 minutes of the start of surgery
    In 2008, the program has been 95% successful in this protocol compared to only 60% success in 2003.
  3. Discontinue antibiotics within 24 hours post-operation
    Through 2008, the program has been 95% successful in this protocol compared to only 41% success in 2003.
According to Carol Ward, infection control program manager at Memorial, the goal of the program is to maintain or be above 95% average in all protocols. "This is a great example of an evidence-based practice, and how well it is working for us at Virtua."
As one of New Jersey’s largest health systems, Virtua helps people be well, get well and stay well through a comprehensive range of health care services. Services are delivered through three health and wellness centers, three fitness centers, four acute care hospitals, primary and specialty physician practices with more than 240 physicians, urgent care centers, seven ambulatory surgery centers, home health services, two long-term care and rehabilitation centers, 12 paramedic units and a wide range of outpatient services. A leader in maternal and child health services, Virtua delivers more than 8,000 babies a year. Virtua also provides employment and wellness services to 1,700 businesses and corporations. An innovator in clinical and information technology such as electronic medical records, Virtua is recognized for its ground-breaking partnerships with GE Healthcare, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the Fox Chase Cancer Center. It is the official orthopedic provider for the Philadelphia Flyers. Virtua employs more than 8,400 people and has been honored as the #1 Best Place to Work in the Delaware Valley for seven consecutive years. It is the recipient of the Consumer Choice Award from the National Research Corporation. For more information, visit  www.virtua.org or www.virtuabroadcastnetwork.org.