Friday, July 10, 2009

Report Suggests New York Hospitals Have More to Do to Reduce HAIs

A report from the New York State Health Department finds that hospitals are making strides in reducing the risk of some hospital acquired infections (HAIs), but rates remain higher than the national average for some types of infections, the Jamestown Post-Journal reports. The second annual Hospital-Acquired Infections, New York State 2008 report is based on 2008 data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Healthcare Safety Network system for HAI reporting on 186 hospitals that performed colon, coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) and hip replacement procedures, as well as the rate of central-line associated bloodstream infections in adult, pediatric and neonatal intensive care units (ICUs). Overall, HAIs were highest for colon surgery at 5.0 percent, followed by CABG at 2.2 percent for chest infections and 1.1 percent for donor site infections, and 1.2 percent for hip replacement surgery. Still, both colon surgical-site infection rates and CABG infection rates decreased from a year ago and were significantly lower than 2006–2007 national rates, and rates for hip replacement surgery, which were included in the report for the first time in 2008, were not statistically different from the national average. However, central line-associated bloodstream infection rates in ICUs were significantly higher than 2006–2007 national rates in five of the nine types of ICU settings evaluated, with a high of 3.5 infections per 1,000 central-line days in pediatric ICUs. According to the state health commissioner, the report did not identify a single hospital with high hospital-acquired infection rates across the board, a finding that the credits to the health department's efforts to "work with hospitals reporting the highest infection rates to identify opportunities for prevention." To ensure continued progress toward reducing HAIs, the report notes that the health department will continue to identify risk factors, prevention strategies and interventions to enhance patient safety; will consult with infection preventionists, hospital epidemiologists, physicians and others to identify evidence-based infection prevention strategies; and continue to require, refine and report HAI data to inform consumer choice. Reflecting on the report, State Sen. Tom Duane (D), chair of the Senate Health Committee, noted that "reducing hospital-acquired infections is an important public health goal that improves patient care and reduces hospital costs," adding that "New York State's reporting system provides a cutting-edge tool for identifying best practices and improving performance across all of New York's hospitals." (Johnson, Jamestown Post-Journal, 7/5/09; Drury, Business First of Buffalo, 7/6/09; New York State Health Department release, 6/30/09; New York State Health Department report, 6/30/09)

Copyright 2009 The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., is the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care.

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