Florida hospitals cut infection rates, save millions

More than two dozen intensive care units (ICUs) in Florida hospitals have collaborated to dramatically reduce bloodstream infections, saving lives and the facilities millions of dollars, reports Health News Florida.

The hospitals have been sharing practices for inserting central lines and other procedures intended to cut down on infections. "The hospitals share best practices, literature and research," said Bill Bell, general counsel of the Florida Hospital Association. "They've come up with various ideas that seem to work."

For example, hospitals inserting central lines followed a checklist created by Peter Pronovost, a physician and researcher at Johns Hopkins University. Patients themselves are empowered to speak up if the procedure is not followed.

As a result, 23 ICUs have not had an infection for the past year, while three have gone infection-free for two years. Seventy-two hospitals are participating, with an average of less than one bloodstream infection per 1,000 line days. The national average is 1.04 infections per 1,000 line days.

Altogether, the collaboration has saved 19 lives, 1,232 hospital days, and Florida's hospital system $8.1 million.

Similar hospital collaborations in California and Michigan also have reduced bloodstream infections.

To learn more:
- read the Health News Florida article
- read the Los Angeles Times article about the California collaborative

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