Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Report Shows Little Progress in Key Areas of Patient Safety

We all know the eliminating healthcare associated infections (HAI's) not only reduces healthcare costs, but more importantly it provides much better care to our patients. With such a win-win potential why are we not making more progress in this area? But that is the case according to the 2009 National Healthcare Quality Report and National Healthcare Disparities Report issued by the U S Department of Health and Human Service's Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Of the five types of HAI's in adult patients that were tracked, three showed increases, one remained unchanged and only one showed any improvement. Postoperative sepsis increased by 8%; postop catheter associated UTI's increased by 3.6%; infections due to medical care increased by 1.6%; blood stream infections from central lines showed no change; and postop pneumonia improved by 12%.

These rates can certainly be reduced but it will take a focused and sustained effort on the part of each hospital. Some hospitals are already addressing this issue. Over 100 participating intensive care units in Michigan have been able to keep their central line associated blood stream infections at or near zero by strictly adopting standardized procedures. Our experience at Compirion confirms that by putting the proper focus on this issue, which includes full support by the Board and CEO down to every housekeeper, you can make a dramatic and sustained difference.

It is frustrating to see reports like this emerge today, particularly with the overwhelming evidence that we need to stop the out of control spending increases. These HAI's can be prevented. I know, because at Compirion we have helped hospitals vastly improve their performance in this area. Providing the best care for patients should be enough motivation but being the most efficient provider you can be is essential for every hospital's survival in the future.

More on this later.

Mark Brodeur

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