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Safety checklist use yields 10 percent drop in hospital deaths
Date:2/1/2011

A Johns Hopkins-led safety checklist program that virtually eliminated bloodstream infections in hospital intensive-care units throughout Michigan appears to have also reduced deaths by 10 percent, a new study suggests. Although prior research showed a major reduction in central-line related bloodstream infections at hospitals using the checklist, the new study is the first to show its use directly lowered mortality.

"We knew that when we applied safety science principles to the delivery of health care, we would dramatically reduce infections in intensive care units, and now we know we are also saving lives," says Peter J. Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and leader of the study published in BMJ, the British medical journal. "Thousands of people are believed to have survived because of this effort to reduce bloodstream infections."

Pronovost's previous research has shown that coupling a cockpit-style, infection-control checklist he developed with a work environment that encourages nurses to speak up if safety rules aren't followed reduced ICU central-line bloodstream infections to nearly zero at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and at hospitals throughout the states of Michigan and Rhode Island. Experts say an estimated 80,000 patients a year with central lines get infected, some 31,000 die nearly as many as die from breast cancer annually and the cost of treating them may be as high as $3 billion nationally.

For the new study, Pronovost and his team, using Medicare claims data, studied hospital mortality of patients admitted to ICUs in Michigan before, during and after what is known as the Keystone ICU Project, which features the checklist. They compared the Michigan information to similar data from 11 surrounding states. While data from both Michigan and the other states showed a reduction in hospital deaths of elderly patients adm
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Contact: Stephanie Desmon
sdesmon1@jhmi.edu
410-955-8665
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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