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Working Toward Our Goal of Zero SSIs
A mix of protocols, patient education and policy adjustments have combined to keep our center’s infection rate below 0.4%.
Kelly O’Brien, MSN, RN, CPAN
Keyboard swab
HIDDEN PATHOGENS After swabbing high-touch surfaces for live bacteria, Missoula Bone & Joint purchased keyboard covers for its ORs for easier disinfection after they had failed the cleanliness threshold.   |   Missoula Bone & Joint Surgery Center

Zero is always the goal. Our surgery center works tirelessly on multiple fronts to ensure no patient walks away from an elective procedure with a surgical site infection (SSI). Of course, hitting that elusive benchmark is always a daunting proposition — especially lately. Since January 2020, we have doubled our capacity while adding total joint replacement and spine surgeries to our scope of services, with the added stress of COVID-19 arriving very shortly after we began our expansion of services. Not to mention the fact that we’re now seeing many more cases coming to our surgery center that we’re struggling to keep up with the volume, which is certainly a good “problem” to have. Still, we pride ourselves on implementing evidence-based, proactive protocols and practices to minimize SSIs, and our infection rate, currently at 0.4%, reflects those efforts. Here’s everything we do to keep our patients — and staff — infection-free.

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