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12-09-2012 | Article

National program reduces central line-associated infections


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medwireNews: A nationwide safety project has resulted in marked reductions in the rate of central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) in intensive care units, preliminary results suggest.

The Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP), funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), has prevented more than 2000 infections and saved more than 500 lives, according to an agency statement.

Over 4 years, hospitals participating in CUSP reduced the overall rate of CLABSIs from 1.903 to 1.137 infections per 1000 central-line days, saving an estimated $ 34 million in infection-associated morbidity and mortality costs, AHRQ claims.

"CUSP shows us that with the right tools and resources, safety problems like these deadly infections can be prevented. This project gives us a framework for taking research to scale in practical ways that help front-line clinicians provide the safest care possible for their patients," said AHRQ Director Carolyn Clancy.

The CUSP project was developed by AHRQ in association with the American Hospital Association (AHA), Johns Hopkins Medicine, and other partners.

The program can be customized to meet the needs of individual institutions.

"It combines clinical best practices with an understanding of the science of safety, improved safety culture, and an increased focus on teamwork. Based on the experiences gained in this successful project, the CUSP toolkit helps doctors, nurses, and other members of the clinical team understand how to identify safety problems and gives them the tools to tackle these problems that threaten the safety of their patients. It includes teaching tools and resources to support implementation at the unit level," according to the AHRQ.

The program was first implemented widely in Michigan, where it was successful at reducing CLABSIs, and has since been expanded to a total of 44 states under an AHRQ contract to the AHA's research division, The Health Research & Educational Trust.

By Neil Osterweil, medwireNews reporter