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Hospira, a leading provider of clinical information and medication delivery technologies, announces its support for North Carolina's new law establishing a statewide surveillance and reporting system for 14 specified healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). The legislation, known as the Model Healthcare-Associated Infections Law, was effective on June 29 and institutions have until Dec. 31 to comply with its provisions. It specifies rules for a statewide reporting and surveillance system emphasizing a particular preference for electronic surveillance. The legislation is supported by the North Carolina Hospital Association, the North Carolina Division of Public Health and healthcare facilities throughout the state.
"We are pleased to be part of this improvement in infection control and standardized reporting methods for North Carolina," says Hugh Tilson, senior vice president of the North Carolina Hospital Association. "We are confident that this legislation will build on all of the work we are doing to improve the quality of care and reduce infection rates throughout the state."
These soon-to-be required reporting and surveillance systems help prevent the occurrence of major patient safety hazards like HAIs, adverse drug events and antimicrobial resistant infections. These have been linked to increased morbidity and mortality, and have an enormous financial impact on both healthcare institutions and society at large. For example, an estimated 1.7 million patients develop an HAI in the United States each year, and 99,000 die as a result, adding $28 billion to $33 billion in healthcare costs annually.
The state of Pennsylvania passed a similar law in 2007, with very positive results. After implementing the reporting program for HAIs, which also requires use of electronic clinical surveillance systems to track and report infections, the Pennsylvania Department of Health reported a 12.5 percent reduction in HAIs in the state's acute-care hospitals in 2009.
In North Carolina, several facilities have preemptively adopted electronic clinical surveillance systems, such as Hospira's TheraDoc platform, which interface with a number of data sources to provide near real-time, actionable information to help identify infections sooner, improve efficiency and workflow and allow clinicians more time for patient interventions, HAI improvements and education.
"We implemented electronic clinical surveillance software in February 2010 and have seen improved efficiency in surveillance and tracking of healthcare-associated infections," explains Robin Carver, director of infection prevention at WakeMed Health & Hospitals, in Raleigh, N.C. "The system has allowed WakeMed clinicians to spend more time on HAI education and prevention and less time on data collection and reporting."