Remote MRSA pre-surgery screening saves lives and money


18 August 2022

Despite progress in managing meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in healthcare settings, infections continue to cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Roughly 171,200 healthcare-associated MRSA infections occur in the EU annually, yielding more than 1 million excess days of hospitalisation and €380 million excess in-hospital costs. Remote MRSA screening and at-home decolonization of MRSA-positive patients prior to surgery is an effective approach to reducing the risk of infection while also increasing theatre occupancy ratio.

Why shouldn't preoperative testing take place too close to the surgery?

Patients who screen positive at admission will not have sufficient time to complete necessary decolonisation regimens, causing last-minute cancellation of surgery slots. Cancellations on the day of surgery are a major issue in the UK NHS and other healthcare systems, with the costs in lost operating theatre time reaching £400 million annually. Moving towards a more digitised pre-operative assessment process such as offering remote MRSA screening and decolonisation therapy would improve operating theatre utilisation by increasing the theatre occupancy ratio. By identifying any red-flag patients who are at risk of their surgery being cancelled much sooner, hospitals can increase patient throughput and ensure that every operation stands the best possible chance of going ahead as scheduled.

Remote pre-operative MRSA screening and decolonisation improves operating theatre utilisation and decreases cancelled surgeries.

Dangers of face-to-face MRSA screening 

As evidenced by recent disease outbreaks, it is critical hospitals minimise the number of face-to-face appointments and start implementing more digital preoperative pathways. Bringing in Covid-19 positive or MRSA colonised patients will increase the risk of shedding into the environment. Remote testing would avert any contact between potentially infectious patients and healthcare professionals, thus minimising the risk of transmission and avoiding costly outbreaks. The swabbing procedure is simple and can easily be conducted by patients at home (e.g groin swabs are taken by patients anyway), reducing unnecessary hospital appointments and making the process more time efficient for staff. 

Combining screening with technology and remote testing

Without procedure verification, infection control procedures such as decolonisation therapy may not be fully effective in lowering the colonisation burden on the skin. To tackle this issue, Certific has launched a novel preoperative remote test-to-treat service with the goal of reducing the substantial clinical burden of MRSA. Combining screening with Certific’s unique process verification technology can ensure that any preoperative tests are conducted to medical standards. By improving the decolonization protocol compliance rate hospitals can minimise the risk of MRSA infections which are expensive to treat and possibly litigate. 

Certific’s technology can also help hospitals achieve targets set by the NHS trust, such as increasing the number of virtual solutions available to patients.

Adherence to the decolonisation protocol will thus also reduce contamination of perioperative environments. Certific’s technology can also help hospitals achieve targets set by the NHS trust, such as increasing the number of virtual solutions available to patients and reducing the burden on healthcare systems that are already operating close to their maximum capacity. Hospitals that opt not to offer remote screening and decolonisation therapy should expect to incur higher costs due to MRSA infections, particularly in populations with high prevalence.

Learn more about Certific's remote pre-oprative assesment & screening service!