Hospitals in several states say theyve successfully reduced healthcare-associated infections through various initiatives, although concerns remain about available funds to keep these programs afloat.
At a news briefing sponsored by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, hospital representatives from New York and Tennessee detailed the steps theyve taken to reduce various hospital-acquired infections.
In New York, for example, an interdisciplinary teamwork model adopted by 46 hospitals reduced central line-associated bloodstream infections by nearly 70% from 2005 through 2008, said Terri Straub, vice president of quality and patient safety with the Greater New York Hospital Association.
Coretha Weaver, an infection preventionist at 551-bed Erlanger Health System in Chattanooga, Tenn., said her hospital developed a best-practices approach that reduced ventilator-associated pneumonia infections from 12 infections per 1,000 ventilator days in the beginning of 2007 to zero cases this past summer.
Most of these hospitals either had to reshuffle personnel and resources or tighten their belts to accommodate these new projects. Its important to keep in mind that preventing infection saves money, said Denise Cardo, director of the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, at 219-bed Blount Memorial Hospital in Maryville, Tenn., which managed to reduce its hospital-acquired infections rate by 50% over a five-year period, We did have to ask for extra money and extra products to carry out infection reduction strategies, said Sherry Hillis, the hospitals infection-prevention and control director. -- by Jennifer Lubell