McLeod Health Goes Paperless, Effectively Monitors Data to Reduce Infections

By eliminating piles of paper, McLeod Health is now able to more effectively monitor clinical data and reduce infections with the help of the Premier healthcare alliance's SafetyConnect program.

In 2006, two infection preventionists (IPs) were responsible for McLeods infection control program. Surveillance was retrospective for 20 percent of patients, most of whom were in critical care. And the data was 90 percent on paper, which meant that manual collection took half of the IPs time. This led to slow responses to outbreaks or clusters by the IPs, and interventions were delayed. Eighty percent of patients missed opportunities for improvement.

To increase the scope of surveillance and reduce manual data collection at its three hospitals and other facilities, the Florence, S.C.-based system joined SafetyConnect, which helps providers protect patients more effectively, avoid Medicare payment penalties and cut costs by working to reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). The program provides real-time analysis, intervention, and productivity gains using Premiers automated SafetySurveillor® infection surveillance solution. SafetyConnect also increases visibility and interaction with clinical staff.

"Before automated surveillance with SafetySurveillor, nothing was real-time," says Michelle Dore, McLeod Health corporate infection control officer. "We monitored ICUs and high risk areas only and couldnt detect problems until they were severe or after the fact. Now we are proactive and can react quickly. We cant prevent all infections or problems, but we certainly have a better handle on whats happening in all of our hospitals and can make improvements. Were part of the care team and interact regularly with clinical staff."

SafetySurveillor data provides value-added, risk-based surveillance organization-wide. It has helped McLeod document and structure HAI data collection with automatic upload to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the agency's National Healthcare Safety Network.

With their new paperless infection control plan, McLeod hired two more IPs; developed defined surveillance indicators based on high-mortality, risk and volume; implemented electronic alerts identifying trends and reducing outbreaks; and developed unit-specific dashboards and service line specific reports for consistent and timely leadership awareness.

The IPs are now care partners who make weekly multidisciplinary ICU and daily rounds in clinical areas to interact face-to-face with front-line staff.

McLeod is also expanding the use of SafetySurveillors functionality to other departments including pharmacy for antibiotic stewardship; environmental services for appropriate cleaning and disinfection of significant pathogens notification; occupational health services for automatic potential exposure notification; microbiology for antibiogram and resistance trending; and clinical effectiveness for trending and analysis of non-infectious complications.

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