Quality of the surveillance of surgical wound infections: A 10-year prospective study of 12,364 wounds
AbstractWe did a survey of postoperative wound infection rates in our department over a 10-year period. It was based on the results of forms completed by surgeons in the department after each operation and when an infection was diagnosed (primary registration). These forms were sent to the electronic data processing department for registration of data in a database. Every third month, detailed reports of the data were discussed with the surgeons. The quality of this routine survey was evaluated as follows: 1) Every year, the year's data in the surveys database were compared with those in the National Patient Register and, in case of discrepancies, the patient's records were checked and missing information about the operation and infections were recorded in the surveys database (secondary registration). 2) In case of a primary registered infection, the patient's record was carefully examined. Infections not fulfilling the criteria for an infection were called registration failures. The primary registration of operations reached an acceptable level (about 95%) after 5 years of the survey, but the recording of infections was unreliable throughout the study due to an unacceptably low registration rate (about 60%) and to a high rate of registration failures.