ANN ARBOR, Mich. Hospitals are working harder than ever to prevent hospital-acquired infections, but a nationwide survey shows few are aggressively combating the most common one catheter-associated urinary tract infections.
In the survey by the University of Michigan Health System and the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare Center, as many as 90 percent of U.S. hospitals surveyed increased use of methods to prevent central line-associated bloodstream infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia, between 2005 and 2009.
But prevention practices for urinary tract infections were regularly used by only a minority of hospitals, according to the survey published online today ahead of print in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
"Despite being the most common healthcare-associated infection in the country, hospitals appear not to be using as many practices for prevention when compared with bloodstream infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia," says senior author Sanjay Saint, M.D., M.P.H., director of the VA/UM Patient Safety Enhancement Program, and U-M professor of internal medicine.
Using reminders to remove the catheter, cleaning the insertion site and avoiding indwelling devices by using appropriate alternatives are all ways hospitals can reduce infection risk.
Still, each year, 5 to 10 percent of hospitalized patients get a hospital-acquired infection, resulting in about $45 billion in health care costs. But in 2008, Medicare stopped paying non-federal hospitals for the additional costs of treating infections which are considered preventable with the right care.
"The actual impact of the no-payment rule appears limited given the fact that hospitals not affected by the rule change, such as VA hospitals, also increased their use of infection practices," says lead study author Sarah L. Krein, Ph.D., R.N., a VA research scientist and U-M associate general medicine professor.'/>"/>
|Contact: Shantell M. Kirkendoll|
University of Michigan Health System