The three-hospital Evanston Northwestern Healthcare system has been named a winner of the 2007 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award by the National Quality Forum and the Joint Commission for its methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, reduction program that cut infections from the oft-called super bug by 60% in its first year, according to a hospital news release.
At patient admission, the program requires the collection of test samples using nasal swabs and relies on a laboratory technique called real-time polymerase chain reaction to identify the drug-resistant bacteria. The procedure allows hospital personnel to quickly identify and isolate MRSA-infected patients.
Members of the Evanston Northwestern Healthcare team founded by physician and epidemiologist Lance Peterson, will soon publish an article about the program in a peer-reviewed journal and are consulting with other hospitals and long-term-care facilities about their MRSA-reduction efforts, a hospital statement said.
The patient-safety awards program was started in 2002 by the NQF and the Joint Commission and honors the former administrator of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at HHS. Eisenberg, a physician, also was one of the founding leaders of the NQF and sat on its board of directors. He died of brain cancer in 2002 at age 55. In the past, multiple winners have been announced, but a spokesman for the Joint Commission declined confirm that Evanston Northwestern had won, noting they would send out a release when the winners are formally announced. -- by Joseph Conn