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U.S. Hospitals Get Low Marks on Curbing Infections
Date:4/13/2010

Federal reports also say health care providers can do more to help obese patients

TUESDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. hospitals are making little progress in eliminating infections that can harm or kill patients, according to reports released April 13 by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The 2009 National Healthcare Quality Report and the National Healthcare Disparities Report track contains information on infection rates for 2007, the latest year data has been available.

Researchers found that rates of bloodstream infections after operations (postoperative sepsis) increased by 8 percent, rates of catheter-associated urinary tract infections following surgery increased by 3.6 percent, and rates of certain infections due to medical care increased by 1.6 percent. However, rates of pneumonia that developed after surgery (postoperative pneumonia) fell by 12 percent.

There was no change in the rate of bloodstream infections associated with central venous catheter placements. These are tubes placed in a large vein in a patient's neck, chest or groin to give medication or fluids, or to collect blood samples.

The reports also found that blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and American Indian patients were less likely than whites to receive preventive antibiotics before surgery in a timely manner.

In an effort to reduce infections associated with healthcare, the AHRQ last year announced funding for nationwide implementation of a program used by more than 100 hospitals in Michigan that cut rates of central line-associated bloodstream infections to near zero.

The AHRQ reports include data on more than 200 health care measures categorized in four areas of quality: effectiveness, patient safety, timeliness, and patient-centeredness.

"Despite promising improvements in a few areas of health care, we are not achieving the more substantial strides that are needed to addr
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