St. Paul’s Hospital program aims to reduce rate of C-section infections

Click to play video: 'Cutting C-section infections at St. Paul’s Hospital' Cutting C-section infections at St. Paul’s Hospital
WATCH: St. Paul's Hospital is hoping a new program will help cut the rate of infections among mothers after C-sections. Linda Aylesworth reports. – Nov 21, 2016

Early Tuesday morning, Tracy Wu will give birth to her third child.

“I’m hoping for a girl, if I can, but a healthy baby is the best thing,” she said.

Like her two young sons, the latest addition to the Wu family will be born by caesarean section at Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital.

Following the caesarean birth, the hospital will follow up with the mother by using a new web-based program they hope will cut the rate of post-surgery infections.

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Thirty days after Wu welcomes her third child, she will receive an email and text message asking if she was experiencing any difficulties related to her caesarean section. A common problem is infections at the site of the incision and, according to Dr. Victor Leung of Providence Infection Prevention and Control, keeping track of such things is important in a hospital environment .

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“If we don’t actually have data on the extent of the problem and accurately capture that, then anything we do to prevent infections, we don’t know if they’re truly effective or not,” Leung said.

Until recently, St. Paul’s, like most hospitals, sent out forms in the mail for new moms to fill out and return. Only 20 per cent of patients complied – not surprising, Wu said, since mothers are “so busy with a new baby.”

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Instead of sending a list of questions by mail, the new program aims to streamline the process by asking “one simple question so that patients who leave hospital don’t feel like it’s a burden to answer,” Leung said.

A year after implementing the program, compliance has increased to 87 per cent, a number so high they’re looking to see if it might catch on with other surgical departments.

“We hope that it will because this is a program that we developed for no cost and we think when it gets scaled up to different applications, the cost of this will still be minimal compared to the traditional ways we’re reaching out to patients,” Leung said.

– With files from Linda Aylesworth

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