Mathematical modelling of patient risks in a hospital environment, using multiple regression analysis
The aim of this research work was primarily to examine the relevance of patient parameters, ward structures, procedures and practices, in respect of the potential hazards of wound cross-infection and nasal colonisation with multiple resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus, which it is thought might provide a useful indication of a patient's general susceptibility to wound infection. Information from a large cross-sectional survey involving 12,000 patients from some 41 hospitals and 375 wards was collected over a five-year period from 1967-72, and its validity checked before any subsequent analysis was carried out. Many environmental factors and procedures which had previously been thought (but never conclusively proved) to have an influence on wound infection or nasal colonisation rates, were assessed, and subsequently dismissed as not being significant, provided that the standard of the current range of practices and procedures is maintained and not allowed to deteriorate. Retrospective analysis revealed that the probability of wound infection was influenced by the patient's age, duration of pre-operative hospitalisation, sex, type of wound, presence and type of drain, number of patients in ward, and other special risk factors, whilst nasal colonisation was found to be influenced by the patient's age, total duration of hospitalisation, sex, antibiotics, proportion of occupied beds in the ward, average distance between bed centres and special risk factors. A multi-variate regression analysis technique was used to develop statistical models, consisting of variable patient and environmental factors which were found to have a significant influence on the risks pertaining to wound infection and nasal colonisation. A relationship between wound infection and nasal colonisation was then established and this led to the development of a more advanced model for predicting wound infections, taking advantage of the additional knowledge of the patient's state of nasal colonisation prior to operation.