State-run website calls out hospitals with high infection rates

With a few clicks of a mouse, folks in Washington State can find out which hospitals have unusually high infection rates, thanks to a new website launched this week by the state's health department. The site helps the state comply with a 2007 law that requires facilities to report hospital-acquired infections, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports.

Already, several hospitals have been featured on the site, including Swedish Medical Center and Grays Harbor Community Hospital. Both are listed as having "unusually high infection rates" due to central lines. Too bad the site uses data that's only current through June 2009--both hospitals have reduced these infection rates since then.

Seven other hospitals were shown to have "unusually high rates of ventilator-associated pneumonia" from January to June of last year. According to the newspaper, available staffers at those hospitals also reported reduced infection rates since the data was gathered. 

Could it be that these facilities worked on lowering these infection rates because they knew the data would be publicly reported, or is it just a happy coincidence?

To learn more:
- read this Seattle Post-Intelligencer article
- check out the Washington State Department of Health's site

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