Safety project cut hospital blood infections by 40 percent

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Safety project cut hospital blood infections by 40 percent

Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | September 11, 2012
A federally funded safety project reduced the rate of a kind of health care-associated infection by 40 percent over a four-year period, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which helped finance the project.

The AHRQ said in an announcement Monday that the project, which used a toolkit for building a "patient safety culture" among staff in hospital intensive care units, prevented an estimated 2,000 central line-bloodstream infections, a known hazard of ICUs, and in turn saved 500 lives and avoided nearly $34 million in additional treatment costs.

As a result of the project, CLBIs fell from 1.9 infections per 1,000 central line days to 1.1 infections per 1,000 days, the AHRQ said. The project was run at more than 1,100 ICUs in 44 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, AHRQ said.

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About 250,000 CLBIs occur in hospitals every year, killing 62,000 patients, according to the project's website.

The project relied on the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program, or CUSP, a five-step process developed by Johns Hopkins Medicine for training and assessing staff in their patient safety know-how. For the project, providers are also given a checklist, asking them to mark off critical steps such as hand-washing before touching a patient and sterilizing the procedure site.

CUSP was first deployed nine years ago at 127 ICUs in Michigan, before being expanded to 10 states in 2008 and then nationwide in 2009. AHRQ assisted with limited financial support to states beginning in 2010, the group said on its website.

Other initiatives are also ongoing to reduce the rate of catheter-associated urinary tract infections and other HAIs, AHRQ said.

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