California Infection-Reduction Initiative Cuts Costs, Mortality
Many California hospitals have been able to cut costs and mortality rates under a three-year campaign that aims to reduce health care-associated infections, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The campaign launched 19 months ago, bringing together 160 hospitals to reduce the estimated 200,000 hospital-related infections that cost about $600 million annually in California. Such infections are responsible for about 12,000 patient deaths annually.
Details of the Initiative
Leaders of the initiative have said the hospitals have collaborated to exchange ideas and strategies to fight the infections. They said some of the steps taken to reduce infections include:
- Brushing patients' teeth more often and swabbing patients' mouths with hydrogen peroxide to reduce bacteria;
- Documenting steps taken in the delivery of care;
- Eliminating unnecessary procedures;
- Following procedural checklists;
- Sterilizing equipment; and
- Washing hands.
Results of the Initiative
About 800 lives have been saved under the initiative, based on lower mortality rates than had been predicted.
The initiative also is credited with decreasing:
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia by 41%;
- Urinary tract infections associated with catheters by 24%; and
- Cases of blood poisoning by 11%.
Overall, the lower infection rates have reduced health care costs by an estimated $11 million.
Federal officials are monitoring the initiative to see if it produces the long-term results seen in other states that have invested in similar efforts (Helfand, Los Angeles Times, 8/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.