The pressure is on for providers to demonstrate they are adhering to best infection-control practices as several leading quality and professional organizations throw their support behind uniform implementation of standardized processes.
Strategies outlined in a new compendium of measures to reduce hospital-acquired infections are likely to become part of the accreditation standards program by the Joint Commission, and other organizations involved in developing the report say implementation of the basic processes will lead to patient-safety improvement. The Joint Commission was joined by the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology and American Hospital Association to release the compendium. A number of other organizationsincluding the American College of Physicians and American College of Surgeonssupport the compendium as well.
The concept of preventing infectionsonce thought to be part of routine medical carehas gained a lot of momentum, and the industry is feeling the heat, according to Robert Wachter, a physician and chief of medical service at 587-bed UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco. By branding hospital-acquired infections as preventable adverse events, we have labeled failure to adhere to evidence-based prevention practices as medical mistakes, which has created tremendous pressure for change, Wachter said in an e-mail.
There are four HAIs targeted through the compendium in addition to two microorganisms known for causing infection in hospitals. The same sixcentral line-associated bloodstream, surgical-site and catheter-associated urinary tract infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia and the two organisms, Clostridium difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureusare at the center of an infection-control action plan HHS announced last month (Sept. 29, p. 6). Three of those HAIs also are no longer covered under the new Medicare policy to not pay for preventable medical errors, or never events, which began Oct. 1.
Having all these groups come together around the same infections indicates the growing awareness of the dangers of HAIs, said Janice Fitzgerald, director of quality and medical management at 637-bed Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Mass. They have really captured hospitals attention. This is the thing to focus on.
Baystate, which developed a program to standardize compliance with evidence-based practices, said it has reduced its rates of surgical-site infections in the past six years. The compendium offers straightforward key strategies and helps hospitals know where and how to focus surveillance and prevention techniques in addition to outlining what providers need to measure to ensure their programs are working, Fitzgerald said.