Simple measures cut infections caught in hospitals
CHICAGO - Preventing surgery-linked infections is a major concern for hospitals, and it turns out some simple measures can make a big difference.
A project at seven big hospitals reduced infections after colorectal surgeries by nearly one-third. It prevented an estimated 135 infections, saving almost $4 million, the Joint Commission hospital regulating group and the American College of Surgeons announced Wednesday. The two groups directed the 2 1⁄2-year project.
Solutions included having patients shower with special germ-fighting soap before surgery, and having surgery teams change gowns, gloves and instruments during operations to prevent spreading germs picked up during the procedures.
Some hospitals used special wound-protecting devices on surgery openings to keep intestine germs from reaching the skin.
The average rate of infections linked with colorectal operations at the seven hospitals dropped from about 16 percent of patients during a nine-month phase when hospitals started adopting changes to almost 11 percent once all the changes had been made.
Hospital stays for patients who got infections dropped from an average of 15 days to 13 days, which helped cut costs.
"The improvements translate into safer patient care," said Dr. Mark Chassin, president of the Joint Commission. "Now it's our job to spread these effective interventions to all hospitals."
Almost 2 million health care-related infections occur each year nationwide; more than 90,000 of these are fatal.
Besides wanting to keep patients healthy, hospitals have a monetary incentive to prevent these infections. Medicare cuts payments to hospitals that have lots of certain health care-related infections, and those cuts are expected to increase under the new health care law.
The project involved surgeries for cancer and other colorectal problems. Infections linked with colorectal surgery are particularly common because intestinal tract bacteria are so abundant.
To succeed at reducing infection rates requires hospitals to commit to changing habits, "to really look in the mirror and identify these things," said Dr. Clifford Ko of the American College of Surgeons.
The hospitals involved were Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles; Cleveland Clinic in Ohio; Mayo Clinic-Rochester Methodist Hospital in Rochester, Minn.; North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in Great Neck, NY; Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago; OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Ill.; and Stanford Hospital & Clinics in Palo Alto, Calif.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates use big 7th inning to sweep Marlins, stretch winning streak to 6
- Plum teacher held for trial on charges of witness intimidation
- Male suspect in custody from New Kensington shooting
- Tweets connect Pittsburghers with the world, each other in 5 words
- Rossi: Steelers’ tarnished Bell rings true
- Judge orders Highmark, UPMC lawyers to hash out consent decree
- Tomlin gives suggestion Steelers won’t be shy about going for 2
- Overturned cement truck knocks out power in South Side Slopes
- Santorum officially joining GOP contenders for the White House
- UPMC offering buyouts to 3,500 employees in cost-cutting move
- Vandals ruin Ligonier Township farmers’ garden