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Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Wins Award For Patient Safety
Date:9/12/2007

First in the country to begin aggressive MRSA screening program

EVANSTON, Ill., Sept. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Evanston Northwestern Healthcare (ENH) is the recipient of this year's John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award. ENH has been recognized for its methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Reduction Program Team.

Evanston Northwestern Healthcare was the first in the country to begin a universal MRSA surveillance program, swabbing all in-patients at its three hospitals for the MRSA bacteria beginning in 2005, well before any recommendations from state law-makers. "The goal of the program was always to reduce the risk of MRSA infection to patients cared for by ENH and all our benchmarks were achieved by the end of the program's first year, said Lance Peterson, MD, FIDSA, FASCP, Epidemiologist and a founder of the MRSA program at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare. "Everyone at ENH put a lot of

effort into this initiative to benefit our patients, and it is really wonderful that ENH as a whole is recognized by this very prestigious award."

This award, sponsored by the National Quality Forum (NQF) and The Joint Commission, recognizes ENH for local innovation when it comes to patient safety. Evanston Northwestern Healthcare's MRSA screening program involves performing nasal swabs for colonization during the hospital admission process. A new molecular diagnostic technique called a real-time PCR is used to quickly assess MRSA infection. This allows hospital staff to promptly identify and isolate infected patients.

At its three hospitals, ENH has been able to reduce MRSA infection rates by 60% within the first year of the program. Universal MRSA surveillance has also decreased the risk of other patients and staff becoming infected. Peterson indicates that "The biggest risk for getting a MRSA infection is becoming colonized in the nose with it. Our program has successfully prevented nasal colonization of pa
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SOURCE Evanston Northwestern Healthcare
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