Case study: Michigan hospitals, Johns Hopkins reduce ICU infections

In a tale that is making headlines as the first of an HHS series of healthcare "success stories," partners in a project designed to reduce healthcare-associated infections are making the rounds explaining how they met their goals.

First out of the gate is the Michigan Health & Hospital Association and Johns Hopkins University, which have managed to save over 1,500 lives and $200 million over the course of an infection-control effort focused on catheter-related bloodstream infections.

More than 100 Michigan hospitals enrolled their ICU in the initiative, known as the Michigan Keystone ICU Project, which involved having ICU personnel use a short safety checklist when inserting catheters into patients. The effort was funded by a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Though a very simple intervention, the checklist turned out to be a powerful one, nonetheless. Following the checklist was associated with a 66 percent reduction of these infections throughout the state of Michigan, saving over 1,500 lives and $200 million in the first 18 months alone. The AHRQ has estimated that for every dollar it invested, about $200 was saved.

HHS hopes to duplicate this success in other settings. The stimulus act includes $50 million in grants available for states to help fight healthcare-associated infections. Meanwhile, Secretary Sebelius is calling on U.S. hospitals to cut central line-associated blood stream infections in ICUs by 75 percent over the next three years by using the same checklist which worked so well in Michigan.

To learn more about this effort:
- read this HHS press release

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