Hospitals Receive Center of Excellence Designation for Managing Infection Risk

DNV GL Healthcare announces a new certification program aimed at transforming hospitals' approach to managing infection risk. DNV GL certified Sentara Leigh and Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospitals in Virginia as the first two Centers of Excellence for its Managing Infection Risk (MIR) Certification, recognizing exceptional processes and an approach to mitigating infection risk that exceeds current standards.

Certification programs are commonly available to hospitals for disease-specific care and stroke, but DNV GL's new MIR program represents the first and only hospital certification for excellence in managing infection risk.

The new Certification comes at a time when hospitals are grappling with the rising costs – both in terms of patient outcomes and funding – of healthcare associated infections and emerging pandemic risks. On any given day, an estimated 1 in 25 inpatients experience an infection while being treated in an acute care facility. These infections lead to the loss of thousands of lives every year and drive up already soaring healthcare expenditures. Each year, healthcare associated infections cost hospitals more than $30 billion in avoidable costs in the United States alone.

"Every year, about 75,000 hospital patients with healthcare-associated infections die during their hospitalizations," says Arjun Srinivasan, MD, associate director for Healthcare Associated Infection Prevention Programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Healthcare workers want the best for their patients, and implementing effective infection control programs will help ensure that patients receive the safe care they deserve."

"The DNV GL MIR program empowers all staff to make necessary changes through a comprehensive risk assessment framework that provides hospitals with tools, resources, and institutional support to address often overlooked areas and implement best practices. MIR motivates entire hospital systems to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities, rework and redesign existing systems, more efficiently manage resources, and ensure smarter and safer healthcare," says Patrick Horine, CEO of DNV GL Healthcare in the United States.

Employees from all departments at both Sentara Virginia Beach General and Sentara Leigh worked with DNV GL surveyors to better understand their strengths, identify any safety gaps, and improve their current processes to more effectively and comprehensively reduce the risk of infection and improve patient and staff safety.

"The process has helped us rethink our entire approach to managing risk, engaging the entire hospital system and breaking down silos between departments. We were meeting risk management standards before undertaking this journey, but now we have a safety culture in which mitigating infection risk is woven into the very fabric of the hospitals' work. Controlling the risk of infection is no longer the responsibility of a few – it is a unifying thread," says Scott Miller, MD, vice president of medical affairs at Sentara Leigh Hospital.

The entire staff at each hospital is more aware and mindful of infection prevention and control standards, and this has increased awareness and encouraged employees from all levels to get involved. For example, at Sentara Virginia Beach General, an electrician from the Facilities Department created signage that automatically lights up when staff enter a patient's room, reminding them to wash their hands. Additionally, staff-wide compliance with the appropriate use of personal protection equipment – gloves, gowns, eye protection glasses, etc. – when treating patients in isolation at Sentara Virginia Beach General has increased 7 percent over the last year.

"We have already seen notable outcomes in many areas: hand hygiene audit compliance has doubled since 2013 and is currently at 99 percent at Virginia Beach General, and we have seen improved cleanliness testing results across high-touch surfaces known to be a contributing factor to the spread of pathogens. At Sentara Leigh, surface cleanliness has improved 47 percent in the past year," says Peggy Braun, RN, vice president of patient care and nurse executive at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital.

Since increasing its focus on reexamining and improving infection prevent standards and processes, Sentara Virginia Beach General has witnessed the number of MRSA infections fall by 67 percent, and there has been only one MRSA infection this year to date.

Hospitals that earn MIR Certification have met DNV GL's comprehensive and risk based elements that comprise the standard. Drawing on 150 years of experience in working with safety critical industries to make them safer, the MIR Certification standard builds upon three important pillars: a proactive rather than reactive approach to safety, the development of a safety culture that is transparent and accountable, and engagement of all staff toward a systems-driven approach to safety.

Hospitals that seek certification are first required to undergo a pre-assessment and submit an action plan based on the results of the assessment before receiving the Certificate of MIR Participation. During the next phase of the process, hospitals are supported by a range of training and gap assessment services. Upon achieving successful outcomes during the final survey phase of the process, the facility is awarded the DNV Center of Excellence designation to reflect their achievement.

Source: DNV GL Healthcare