Florida initiative aims to cut infection rates

Florida surgeons and hospitals are launching a new statewide initiative aimed at reducing surgical site and urinary tract infection rates. The program, a joint effort of the Florida Hospital Association and the American College of Surgeons, will collect data on four key areas and then recommend ways to improve the results.

The effort looks to be intensive. The data--on those two infection rates, colorectal surgery outcomes and surgical outcomes among the elderly--will be pulled from medical charts rather than hospital bills. Hospitals will track inpatients and outpatients for 30 days after their procedures to measure outcomes and identify complications. The initiative is based on the ACS' National Surgical Quality Improvement Program.

Organizers of the Florida Surgical Care Initiative plan to ask every hospital in the state that performs surgery to join. As of May 18, the FHA had verbal commitments from 25 hospitals. It hopes to have at least 100 hospitals participate.

In other infection-control news, a new poll indicates hospitals and other health-care facilities have intensified their efforts to prevent and control the spread of C. difficile infections, but 34 percent of the nearly 1,800 respondents felt their facilities still have more to do. The C. difficile bacteria can cause sepsis and other serious conditions. Infections by it appear to be rising rapidly in the U.S. and are commonly associated with recent exposure to healthcare facilities, according to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), which conducted the poll. The poll was conducted online in February and March. 

To learn more:
- read this South Florida Business Journal article
- read this piece in the Naples News
- check out this article in Outpatient Surgery Magazine
- here's the Florida Hospital Association's news release
- read the APIC poll results