TribLIVE

| Business

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Expert: End of hospital infections possible

Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - Registered nurse Gloria Acquillo displays a catheter that's designed to prevent patients from being infected with airborne and touch-borne pathogens. Flexicath, Israeli company with its North American headquarters in South Park, is responsible for the product.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review</em></div>Registered nurse Gloria Acquillo displays a catheter that's designed to prevent patients from being infected with airborne and touch-borne pathogens. Flexicath, Israeli company with its North American headquarters in South Park, is responsible for the product.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - Registered nurse Gloria Acquillo displays a catheter that's designed to prevent patients from being infected with airborne and touch-borne pathogens. Flexicath, Israeli company with its North American headquarters in South Park, is responsible for the product.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review</em></div>Registered nurse Gloria Acquillo displays a catheter that's designed to prevent patients from being infected with airborne and touch-borne pathogens. Flexicath, Israeli company with its North American headquarters in South Park, is responsible for the product.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - James Hanlon is the COO for Flexicath, an Israeli company with its North American headquarters in South Park. The company has introduced a catheter that is designed to help patients avoid airborne and touch-borne pathogens.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review</em></div>James Hanlon is the COO for Flexicath, an Israeli company with its North American headquarters in South Park. The company has introduced a catheter that is designed to help patients avoid airborne and touch-borne pathogens.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - Flexicath is an Israeli company with its North American headquarters in South Park. They have introduced a catheter designed to avoid airborne and touch-borne pathogens. At left is the introducer section that inserts the needle and in the center is the catheter and midline.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review</em></div> Flexicath is an Israeli company with its North American headquarters in South Park. They have introduced a catheter designed to avoid airborne and touch-borne pathogens. At left is the introducer section that inserts the needle and in the center is the catheter and midline.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

On the Grid

From the shale fields to the cooling towers, Trib Total Media covers the energy industry in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. For the latest news and views on gas, coal, electricity and more, check out On the Grid today.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, 8:42 p.m.
 

Hospital infections kill more than 90,000 Americans a year and cost taxpayers and insurers about $45 billion, federal officials have reported.

That can change, said Dr. Keith Kanel, chief medical officer at Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative, a nonprofit that seeks to improve health care practices.

With training and close adherence to protocols and checklists, he said, hospitals can stop infections.

“I think we're going to see continued progress at eliminating hospital-acquired infections, and there's no question the goal is getting to zero,” Kanel said.

Curbing infections can mean big money for hospitals and equipment manufacturers. Each catheter-related infection costs between $3,700 and $29,000, according to PRHI estimates.

In Pennsylvania, hospitals charged more than $1.25 billion in 2009 to treat patients readmitted for complications or infections that might have been avoided, the Tribune-Review's “Code Green: Bleeding Dollars” investigation found.

Patients across the state were readmitted to the hospital more than 62,000 times in 2010 because of complications or infections, according to the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council. The cases represent 5.6 percent of hospital stays.

Solutions can be simple. Something as easy as mandated hand-washing can make a difference, Kanel said. A four-year PRHI study found that bloodstream infection rates fell by 68 percent when measures were implemented and followed.

And the results have been sustained.

“This was HUGE,” Kanel wrote in an email.

As incentive, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2008 stopped paying hospitals for some types of readmissions that might have been prevented, such as catheter-associated infections. Private health insurers typically adopt federal payment practices.

Researchers wrote in The New England Journal of Medicine in October that they could find no evidence that the change in payment policy had an effect. But hospital officials — including those with UPMC and West Penn Allegheny Health System — said they take seriously the issue of reducing infections.

Into that environment, Flexicath, an Israeli company with North American headquarters in South Park, has introduced a catheter designed to prevent patients from being infected with airborne and touch-borne pathogens.

The company has grown to a dozen employees since 2010 and started distribution in the East and Midwest, said James “Chip” Hanlon, chief operating officer.

“The neatest thing is when we sell our product,” Hanlon said. “What we find is that the clinicians typically understand the advantages.”

Andrew Conte is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7835 or andrewconte@tribweb.com.

Add Andrew Conte to your Google+ circles.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Business Headlines

  1. Small business hangs on fate of Export-Import Bank
  2. $2-per-gallon gas expected by year’s end, but not in Western Pa.
  3. FirstEnergy to build coal waste processing facility in Beaver County
  4. FedEx faces in-depth probe of bid to buy Dutch express company
  5. Insurers: F-150’s aluminum costly to repair
  6. Muni bond funds stressed
  7. Jaguar XJ flagship struggles to keep pace
  8. Wages, benefits stagnant, U.S. says
  9. Low fuel pressure may have easy fix
  10. Trib 30 index slips in July; 29 percent drop makes ATI biggest loser
  11. ATI to benefit from WTO ruling against China in steel case