New White Paper: More Options to Reduce CAUTIs

Bladder wall damage caused by a Foley catheter that can lead to a CAUTI
Bladder wall damage caused by a Foley catheter that can lead to a CAUTI

We’ve posted previously about the dangers of catheter-related bloodstream infections and the option of using safer technology to prevent them. With the emergence of a new, safer device for urinary catheterization, it’s time to apply the same logic to catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs).

The association between CAUTIs and the common use of Foley catheters is outlined in this new multimedia white paper. For results of a national survey of infection preventionists about CAUTIs, click here.

Continue reading “New White Paper: More Options to Reduce CAUTIs”

Study Shows Chlorhexidine-Impregnated PICC Eliminated Bloodstream Infections and Reduced Thrombosis

Teleflex Good Shepherd fotoA study published in the Fall 2014 issue of the Journal of the Association for Vascular Access (JAVA) showed that a chlorhexidine-impregnated peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) eliminated central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) during the two-year study period (July 2011-July 2013). In addition, only one incidence of thrombosis occurred during the study period – a non-occlusive thrombus associated with device insertion. When the study ended, the good results continued: No CLABSIs or episodes of thrombosis were associated with the catheter between the end of the study and the study’s publication.

Continue reading “Study Shows Chlorhexidine-Impregnated PICC Eliminated Bloodstream Infections and Reduced Thrombosis”

IV Catheter Is Found to Reduce Bloodstream Infections and Treatment Costs

Dr. Leonardo Lorente

A recent study found that a central venous catheter (CVC) designed to reduce bloodstream infections totally eliminated them at a hospital in Spain. The antimicrobial CVC also sharply reduced treatment costs related to the infections, compared to the unprotected CVC matched against it. You can read a study summary here.

The antimicrobial CVC in the study was the ARROW® CVC with ARROWg+ard® Technology. The catheter achieves its antimicrobial effect from a protective layer of chlorhexidine and silver sulfadiazine bonded to the catheter’s surface.

Continue reading “IV Catheter Is Found to Reduce Bloodstream Infections and Treatment Costs”

Expanding Scope of Practice for Vascular Access Specialists Can Improve Quality Care

Part 2 of a two-part post.

Vascular_Access_Team_300pxThe Affordable Care Act (ACA), more commonly known as Obamacare, is 906 pages long. But amidst all that detail are a few driving goals. One of those is something few would argue with: higher quality healthcare at lower cost. That’s also the focus of a new white paper on vascular access.

It’s no wonder the ACA’s authors made that a priority. The U.S. lags behind other industrialized countries on both sides of the quality/cost equation. We have the most expensive healthcare, by far, among industrialized nations, according to both the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the healthcare-focused Commonwealth Fund. The U.S. also ranks worse than many of these nations on some measures of quality, including safety.

That brings us to Leslie Schultz, RN, Ph.D., Director of the Safety Institute at Premier, Inc., Continue reading “Expanding Scope of Practice for Vascular Access Specialists Can Improve Quality Care”

How Vascular Access Clinicians Can Help Hospitals Avoid Infection Penalties

Leslie Schultz
Leslie Schultz

At the recent annual meeting of the Association for Vascular Access (AVA), speaker Leslie Schultz, Director of the Safety Institute at Premier, Inc., introduced a provocative idea. Vascular access professionals, she said, can help their employers avoid the substantial financial penalties they face for high rates of central-line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs).

Schultz was referring to the substantial penalties mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as Obamacare. The ACA tries to improve healthcare and lower costs by penalizing hospitals that trail most of their peers in preventing infections.

Schultz has a keen sense of the contributions nurses can make to minimizing a hospital’s CRBSI rate. In addition to her role at Premier, she is an RN as well as a Ph.D. Premier’s Safety Institute offers free information, tools, and resources to advance patient safety.

Before diving into how vascular access professionals can leverage their expertise to reduce CRBSIs and the associated penalties, here’s some crucial background. Continue reading “How Vascular Access Clinicians Can Help Hospitals Avoid Infection Penalties”

What Does Healthcare Transformation Mean for Risk Managers?

Susan Carr, editor of Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare, does a good job on the PSQH blog of beginning to answer questions about healthcare risk managers and the transformation of care. Carr discusses comments by futurist Ian Morrison at the annual conference of the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management.

Morrison says the Affordable Care Act isn’t the only factor shaping the changing world of healthcare risk managers. Other influences —consolidation, cost reduction, and realignment of risk—are also crucial.

Morrison’s key issues as outlined in Carr’s article:

1. ) Implementation of the Affordable Care Act and expansion of healthcare coverage to previously uninsured individuals. We may be heading toward two Americas, represented by Texas and California. The difference? The first is one of about half of the states that have refused to expand Medicaid. California, in comparision, has embraced the ACA and expanded Medicaid.

2.) Growth of the individual consumer market in which people have to make many more choices about details of their health insurance: “Morrison believes that individuals’ awareness of the narrow provider networks that come with ‘cheap’ plans is a ‘shoe still to drop.’ “

3.) Realignment of risk. Morrison foresees a country of “100 to 200 large regional systems of care across the country that assume risk on a population basis.”

4.) The changing business model for hospitals and health systems. That means more price pressure, along with an emphasis on value-based purchasing. “Morrison believes this shift ultimately means that hospitals will go from being in the business of filling beds to the business of emptying beds” – while trying to remain financially viable.

5.) Implementing and sustaining a culture of low risk and high quality is critical, and we’re not there yet. It will, he said “make the difference between life and death, between affordability or not.”

More from Carr’s article here.


CMS Publishing Bloodstream Infection Rates at Hospitals

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has started to publish, for the first time ever, data showing how hospitals nationwide compare in their rates of central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) in their intensive care units (ICUs). The public can view the rates on HHS’ Hospital Compare website when deciding which facility they want to patronize. The data will be updated quarterly, with rates for other infections added in the future.

Will this be a game-changer? It very well might be. It comes on the heels of other incentives the feds have used to get hospitals to lower their CLABSI rates, so the new effort could create a tipping point. Here are the previous initiatives:

* In October 2008, the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) ceased reimbursing hospitals for a number of hospital-associated conditions, including CLABSIs, that it considered preventable.

* CMS lowered the financial boom again about two years later. As we reported here, CMS mandated that to get full Medicare payments, hospitals had to report CLABSIs and certain other healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) on the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN).

The reporting to NHSN began in January 2011, and it is that data that is being shared on Hospital Compare. Although the reporting is voluntary, most hospitals participate for obvious reasons – it would be unthinkable to suffer lower Medicare payments. By the way, much of the credit for these government crackdowns goes to Consumers Union, which for years has been pushing for action on HAIs through its Safe Patient Project.

Of course, Hospital Compare is going to keep some hospital CEOs up at night.

Undoubtedly, savvy patients will penalize facilities with high CLABSI rates when they go hospital hunting. Some CEOs complain that a simple comparison of CLABSI rates puts their institutions at an unfair disadvantage. We’re sympathetic to that claim in some cases. We’ve worked with several hospitals whose patient populations are unusually vulnerable to CLABSIs.

For example, we’ve written about one well-regarded children’s hospital that nevertheless has much higher-than-usual CLABSI rates because many of its patients suffer from short bowel syndrome and also receive total parenteral nutrition. Both issues significantly increase CLABSI risk.

But note that this hospital was still able to lower its CLABSI rates dramatically by taking several preventive steps, including implementing an alcohol-dispensing disinfection cap called SwabCap® that improves disinfection of IV connectors. Disclosure: (We represent SwabCap’s maker, Excelsior Medical.)

Numerous hospitals that were struggling to reduce their CLABSIs achieved sharp reductions when they adopted the disinfection cap, which smartly addresses the problems with the traditional approach to disinfecting connectors.

So, yes, Hospital Compare will sometimes compare apples to oranges, but hospitals can and should reduce infections by implementing best practices and evidence-based technologies like the disinfection cap.

Average hospital CLABSI rates have dropped some over the years, thanks in part to campaigns by the feds, Consumers Union, and other concerned organizations. Consider, though, that many experts believe CLABSIs can be completely eliminated. If they’re right, there’s still room for improvement.