Post-discharge surgical site infection surveillance by automated telephony

J. McNeish*, D. Lyle, M. McCowan, S. Emmerson, S. McAuley, Jacqui Reilly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Surgical site infection (SSI) is an important outcome indicator after surgery and is part of a national programme of surveillance in Scotland. Post-discharge surveillance has important cost implications for both primary and acute areas of the NHS and it is therefore important to establish a robust method to obtain these data. This study used an automated telephony system to gain information on SSI developing post-discharge. The patients included were those who had inpatient surveillance carried out following hip and knee replacements, and cardiac surgery. A recorded message was used to ask the patient questions concerning the state of their wound. These questions were answered by pressing numbers on their phone. The study population was 104 and there were 18 patients who thought they had a wound infection but after clarification only nine patients suffered a post-discharge SSI. The number of patients who responded with at least one call to the system was 62. Although this pilot study was carried out with small numbers, it was felt that with certain refinements it should continue to be used for post-discharge surgical site surveillance of infection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-236
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2007


  • surgical site infection
  • post-discharge surveillance
  • automated telephony system


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