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Q. Why should our organization participate?

A: Participating in the audit will allow your organization to be part of a national movement aimed at establishing an assessment of your SSI prevention processes.

Auditing processes in SSI prevention will help to identify areas of excellence and areas for improvements. Measurement is critical in the journey to improve the delivery of safe and effective care for surgical patients.

Q:  Is registration for audit month necessary?

 A:  Yes please. Regardless of whether you are currently using the SSI Prevention Data Collection or you have never used the tool, we would like all organizations to register for SSI Prevention Audit Month for February 2016.  Registration is now open, to register, click here.

Q:  How do I determine my sample size for the audit?

Given that organizations differ in size, patient volumes, and availability of resources to conduct audits, we do not have specific requirements for the number of charts to audit. The number of charts audited (sample size) is at the discretion of the end users.  

The table below, details a recommended sampling strategy for this audit event and future data collection.

Quality Improvement Sampling strategy

Average Monthly Population Size "N"Minimum required sample "n"
< 20No sampling; 100% of population required.  (minimum of 10 audits)
20 – 10020
> 10015 - 20% of population size


Q. What patient populations can be audited using SSI prevention Data Collection Form?

A: It is most appropriate to use the SSI Data Collection Form for adult and pediatric NHSN Class I and Class II patients.  We do not recommend the tool for trauma patients and emergency surgical cases.

  • NHSN Class I    - Clean - An Uninfected operative wound in which no inflammation is encountered and the respiratory, alimentary, genital, or uninfected urinary tract is not entered
  • NHSN Class II   - Clean Contaminated - An operative wound in which the respiratory, alimentary, genital, or urinary tracts are entered under controlled conditions and without unusual contamination.

Q:  Does the SSI Prevention Data Collection Form allow an organization to evaluate their SSI prevention processes?

A:  The SSI Prevention Data Collection Form contains several questions that are based on SSI prevention best practices.  Specifically, there will be 4 scores automatically calculated based on the responses the SSI Data Collection Form:

  • SSI Preoperative score= automatically populated from responses C, D and I from the SSI Data Collection Form
  • SSI perioperative score = automatically populated from responses E, F, G and K from the SSI Data Collection Form
  • SSI postoperative = automatically populated from responses H, J and L from the SSI Data Collection Form
  • Overall SSI prevention score = automatically populated from responses C-K from the SSI Data Collection Form

Q. Do I have to complete all question on the Data Collection Form?

A.  Yes, all questions on the SSI Data Collection Form should be answered.  Failing to do so will result in a lower score for your SSI prevention measures (see question above).  If the response is not available in the patient record please select "Not Recorded".

Q. What do I do if I am unsure of the meaning or how to respond to any of the questions?

A. We first recommend you review the instructions that accompany the SSI Data Collection Form (please see SSI audit instructions booklet )

If you are still unsure of the appropriate response please contact or

Q: Should I get executive support to participate?

A: At Safer Healthcare Now! we recognize that the support of an Executive Sponsor is key to a team's success. An executive sponsor is typically a middle or senior level manager whose role may include:

  • Clarifying the improvement mandate and aligning it within the organizations strategic and operational objectives
  • Connecting and communicating with appropriate stakeholders
  • Allocation of staff and resources to support the improvement work
  • Establishing an accountability mechanism
  • Facilitating the work of the team within the larger organization.
  • Engaging a team leader and a coach

Q: How do I generate my SSI Prevention Data Collection Form (s) in Patient Safety Metrics?

A: Click here to view a flow chart that displays the steps to generate your SSI Prevention Data Collection Forms in Patient Safety Metrics.

Please print one form for each patient to be audited.  Do not photocopy the form. 

Q: How can I use my results?

A: All organizations participating in the audit should be aware that a "point in time" audit has limitations in terms of generalizability of the results.  The national and provincial aggregate level results will be shared on a national call and through a written report posted on the Safer Healthcare Now! website.  Participating organizations can access their results through logging in to Patient Safety Metrics.   Individual organizations are encouraged to conduct monthly audits and use their run charts to monitor trends and performance over time.

Q. How will Safer Healthcare Now! use our results.

A: Results of individual healthcare facilities will not be shared publicly without explicit consent. All data submitted to the "Canadian SSI Prevention Audit" will be presented in provincial and national aggregate form only.

Q. How do I submit my audit results?

  • Prior to submitting your results, write your name and phone number in the upper left hand corner on each page /data collection form that is faxed.
  • The SSI Data Collection Form should be faxed to the toll-free fax number located in the top right corner of the form.  Use a fine resolution setting.  Do not use cover sheet and do not fax more than 10 sheet at a time.

Once faxed, the system will automatically process the data and make it available for viewing within Patient Safety Metrics.  There may be a up to 60 minute delay before the results can be viewed (as the system needs to process the data).