Healthcare News & Insights

Safety program reduces hospital-acquired bloodstream infections

A government patient safety project has reduced the instance of hospital-acquired bloodstream infections by 40% nationwide – and the program can be easily replicated at your hospital.

The Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) is the brainchild of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). According to a news release, more than 1,100 adult intensive care units in 44 states participated in the project over a four-year period.

During that time, the rate of central line-associated bloodstream infections went from 1.903 infections per 1,000 central line days to 1.137 infections per 1,000 line days.

This decrease made a big difference. Overall, the program managed to prevent more than 2,000 bloodstream infections, which saved more than 500 patients’ lives, according to the AHRQ.

And curbing infection rates managed to save over $34 million in healthcare costs.

Using a CUSP approach in your hospital

CUSP was first used in Michigan, where it significantly decreased the rates of hospital-acquired bloodstream infections. The program was then expanded to several states, and thanks to a contract with the American Hospital Association’s Health Research & Educational Trust, the program went nationwide.

With CUSP, hospitals are able to formulate an approach to reducing bloodstream infections that caters to their unique situation and demographics.

The program combines the use of established best practices with education about safety and an increased focus on teamwork among staff in the ICU.

Hospital execs looking to implement a system similar to CUSP can follow this five-step process:

  • Step 1: Educate staff members about the science behind patient safety.
  • Step 2:  Have staff complete an assessment of patient safety culture. What’s working? What’s not?
  • Step 3: Work closely with the unit to strengthen communication and leadership. This promotes an environment where teamwork matters.
  • Step 4: Allow staff to identify the unit’s current safety deficiencies and determine how everyone can learn from these mistakes.
  • Step 5:  Provide staff members with tools, including checklists, and allow them to work together toward the common goal of improved patient safety.

The AHRQ offers a CUSP toolkit with detailed info about starting this initiative in your hospital, which includes advice about assembling a team, engaging with staff and identifying patterns that need to be changed.  Find it here.

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