Education, pre-surgery prep key to preventing hospital-acquired infections

Two new studies reveal how hospitals can tailor their infection-control programs to best battle hospital-acquired infections (HAIs).

Researchers from Detroit Medical Center worked with four affiliated hospitals to see if an education-based approach to sepsis would keep patients from contracting the deadly infections, according to an announcement from the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ). Clinicians at the hospitals received targeted education on getting antibiotics to patients quickly, as well as training on performing blood culture tests before administering drugs.

Doctors who received the additional education were more likely to take blood cultures from patients before giving them medication, and the time from testing to providing antibiotic treatment dropped from about 182 minutes to 92 minutes, according to the announcement.

Meanwhile, researchers at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina examined bundled approaches for procedures related to colorectal surgery to reduce infections. Surgeons received educational materials, took disinfecting showers before surgery and increased their focus on wound care for patients.

There were fewer superficial surgical site infections among patients with bundled care (5.7 percent) as compared to those without a bundled approach (19.3 percent), while post-op sepsis rates were also lower (2.4 percent compared to 8.5 percent), according to the study, which was published in JAMA.

Infection prevention doesn't just help patients, it can also help hospitals' bottom lines. The Essential Hospitals Engagement Network, a national network of safety-net hospitals, prevented 1,184 harmful events and saved nearly $12 million by coaching and educating front-line clinical staff, as well as training hospitals' executive teams to foster a culture of patient safety, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the NAHQ announcement (.pdf)
- check out the Duke study