Hospitals make headway in infection prevention

Hospitals are showing promising results in reducing healthcare-associated infections, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For instance, central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) dropped 41 percent between 2008 and 2011, especially in intensive care units and neonatal intensive care units. That infection reduction outpaced the 32 percent decrease reported in 2010.

To maintain progress, hospitals can use a state-based safety program that involves checklists and better communication. By doing so, 100 hospital NICUs in nine states cut newborn CLABSIs by 58 percent in less than a year, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

For surgical site infections, hospitals reported a 17 percent reduction since 2008, up from the 7 percent reduction in 2010. Hospitals also cut catheter-associated urinary tract infections by 7 percent since 2009, the same percentage drop they reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network in 2010, the CDC noted.

"The significant decrease in central line and surgical site infections means that thousands of patients avoid prolonged hospitalizations and the risk of dying in the hospital," Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services Chief Medical Officer Patrick Conway said today in a statement.

These improved results come as hospitals get more creative with infection-prevention. Physicians and nurses at Crouse Hospital, for instance, created a rap video to encourage staff to reduce hospital-acquired conditions and improve patient safety. The New York hospital also developed an "Increasin' C. Dif is No Myth" initiative to lower the risk of hospital-acquired clostridium difficile colitis, endocrinologist Mickey Lebowitz and senior medical quality director for Crouse Hospital wrote in a January Hospital Impact post.

However, the news isn't all good for other healthcare facilities, according to a study in the March issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found drug-resistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is becoming more prevalent at nursing homes.

For more:
- here's the CDC announcement and report
- read the Infection Control statement