Top teaching hospitals fall from grace with high infection rates

They may be known for possessing leading minds and excellent service, but the well-known academic centers may not be the safest places for patients. A new Consumer Reports Health hospital ratings list reveals that some of the most renowned hospitals did not perform well in preventing healthcare-acquired infections. On the list are Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore; Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio; Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City; Tufts Medical Center in Boston; and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

"Most of us think of teaching hospitals as setting the standard for the right way to do things, so it's surprising to see so many teaching hospitals near the bottom of the list," said John Santa, MD, MPH, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center today in a news brief.

Consumer Reports researchers looked at bloodstream infections developed while on central-line catheters or tubes used to deliver medication and fluid to ICU patients. They focused on teaching hospitals and found no improvement from the previous year in terms of zero infections.

Surprisingly, smaller community hospitals fared better in lower infection rates, according to Santa in a HealthNewsDigest article.

"Bottom [l]ine: Research has repeatedly shown that hospitals, even large urban ones, can dramatically reduce and even eliminate central-line infections," states Consumer Reports. "For the process to work, each individual has to make a commitment to perform each step each time, and have the courage to correct their colleague when they see an error has been made."

For more:
- read the Consumer Reports news brief
- check out Consumer Reports hospital ratings (subscription required)
- read the HealthNewsDigest article