Infections drop 77% with improved communication, hand hygiene

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta saved $23 million on hospital costs by slashing central-line infections by nearly 80 percent, reported Hospitals & Health Networks Daily.

Altogether, the hospital avoided 550 bloodstream infections since it launched the initiative in 2006, an overall reduction of 77 percent, according to the article. Two of the hospital's units have had more than 1,000 days and more than 800 days, respectively, without a central-line infection.

Hospital officials embraced a variety of infection-avoidance guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Children's Hospital Association, including checklists for inserting and maintaining central lines, and the improvement of communication between physicians and hospital staff, according to H&HN Daily.

It also initiated a "Foam Up" initiative for both staff and parents of patients to encourage better hand hygiene, the article reported.

Central-line infection initiatives were initially developed at Johns Hopkins Medical Center about a decade ago. A new Johns Hopkins study indicated that central-line infection rates in its own pediatric cancer ward dropped by about 20 percent over two years using guidelines similar to what Children's Health of Atlanta adopted.

"Real change rarely occurs overnight. It requires sustained effort and unwavering focus, day after day, month after month, year after year," Michael Rinke, lead author of the Johns Hopkins study, said in a statement. "It's a slow, arduous process, but the payoff can be dramatic."

To learn more:
- read the H&HN Daily article
- here's the Johns Hopkins statement