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Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Researchers Explain Effects of Large-Scale, Universal MRSA Surveillance Program That Supports Expanded Intervention
Date:3/17/2008

March 18th publication in prominent peer-reviewed journal highlights findings of program to reduce rate of drug-resistant staph infection

EVANSTON, Ill., March 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Universal hospital surveillance of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) using a rapid molecular diagnostic test is effective in significantly reducing MRSA disease, according to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine by a team of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare (ENH) researchers. The ENH study, "Universal Surveillance for [MRSA] in 3 Affiliated Hospitals," appears in the March 18, 2008 issue of the American College of Physicians flagship journal.

Evanston Northwestern Healthcare became the first healthcare provider in the United States to launch a comprehensive, universal MRSA surveillance program, swabbing all in-patients at its three hospitals (Evanston, Glenbrook and Highland Park) for the MRSA bacteria, a potentially fatal infection that does not respond to common antibiotics and is a significant cause of hospital-acquired infections.

"The goal of the program was always to reduce the risk of MRSA infection to patients cared for by ENH. We achieved all our benchmarks by the end of the program's first year," said Lance R. Peterson, MD, FASCP, Epidemiologist and a founder of the MRSA program at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare. "The program we began in August of 2005 had a major patient safety impact for all our patients and demonstrated that a comprehensive effort to reduce MRSA infection can be accomplished in the United States."

At its three hospitals, ENH was able to reduce MRSA infection rates by 70% in less than two years. ENH also demonstrated a system-wide compliance with admission testing of more than 90%. The program lowered the risk of other patients and staff becoming carriers of MRSA; and becoming a MRSA carrier is the highest risk for eventually developing an infection with this bact
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