Maryland Hospitals Commit to Eliminating Bloodstream Infections

Marylands hospitals are joining a nationwide initiative to eliminate serious bloodstream infections. This is a volunteer effort, like the Maryland Hospital Hand Hygiene Collaborative, the Maryland Patient Safety Center Neonatal Collaborative, and others, focused on partnering to improve safety and care for patients, according to the Maryland Hospital Association.

On the CUSP: Stop BSI, developed by Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD, of a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and coordinated locally by the Maryland Hospital Association and the Maryland Patient Safety Center, uses a combination of unit-based safety checklists, staff education, and ongoing national expert consultation to reduce the number of central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) occurring in hospitals.

Central line-associated bloodstream infections are a leading cause of healthcare-associated infections in acute-care hospitals, with an estimated 250,000 occurring each year in the United States.

"The program works," says Pronovost. "On the CUSP will help ensure that Maryland patients received safer hospital care."

For the past two years, Marylands hospitals have been reporting CLABSIs to the Maryland Health Care Commission using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s National Healthcare Safety Network. A recent CDC report showed Maryland had 222 preventable infections between January and June 2009.

"For Marylands hospital leaders these numbers are unacceptable," says Barbara Epke, MPH, chair of MHAs Council on Clinical and Quality Issues and senior vice president of LifeBridge Health. "This is not just about statistics, its about providing quality care for our patients."

On the CUSP (Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program) began as a pilot study in Michigan. After six months, 103 Michigan intensive care units dropped their CLABSI rates by 60 percent. The program was then initiated in 10 states. Maryland is now one of 30 states participating in the initiative, and with 44 participating facilities, is among the states with the highest levels of participation. Given the initiatives past success, area hospital leaders are confident their organizations can quickly further reduce CLABSIs.

"Eliminating bloodstream infections is essential to making sure that our patients receive the highest quality care possible," said" said Patrick Chaulk, MD, MPH, executive director and president of the Maryland Patient Safety Center. "Working together, we can implement this proven method for keeping our patients safe."

Maryland pioneered similar work in 2005 and 2006, when the Maryland Patient Safety Center developed the Intensive Care Unit Safety and Culture Collaborative. The collaborative brought together teams from 38 Maryland hospitals to improve bloodstream infection and ventilator-associated pneumonia rates. It saved lives and reduced the cost of care. When the formal effort ended, many hospitals maintained and expanded their teams to continue the battle against CLABSIs.

On the CUSP is coordinated nationally by the Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET), with funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. It provides hospitals with a refined, refreshed focus on safety culture and emphasizes the need for teamwork in providing the best care for patients.

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