EHR checklist reduces rate of bloodstream infections in children

Using a checklist enhanced by an electronic health record and a unit-wide dashboard decreased the rate of central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) in children, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.

CLABSIs are a major patient safety concern and one of the Joint Commission's National Patient Safety Goals for 2014. Researchers from Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford and elsewhere conducted a study of all patients with a central venous catheter in a pediatric intensive care unit to see whether using a checklist enhanced by the EHR, plus a dashboard in the unit, would improve compliance with evidence-based pediatric specific catheter care.

They found that the CLABSI rates dropped from 2.6 per 1,000 line days to 0.7 per 1,000 line days. There was better daily documentation of line necessity, and increased compliance in dressing changes, cap changes and port needle changes. Compliance with insertion bundle documentation decreased, but only slightly, from 67 percent to 62 percent.

Significantly, reviews of the EHR checklist during patient rounds episodes caused changes to the children's' care plans 39 percent of the time.

"These data underscore the potential for computerized interventions to promote compliance with proven best practices and prevent patient harm," the authors concluded.

This study is another in a line of studies that demonstrate the value of EHRs in improving patient care of infants and children, both in the prevention of illness and the identification of potential risks of disease or disorders.

To learn more:
- here's the study abstract