HAI report highlights improvement at Pennsylvania hospitals

A report by the Pennsylvania Department of Health shows that healthcare-associated infection rates at the state's acute-care hospitals declined by 12.5 percent in 2009.

“The Department of Health’s second infection report ... gives clinicians, regulators and the public a good look at the evolution of patient safety and infection prevention efforts in Pennsylvania over the past few years,” said Carolyn F. Scanlan, president and CEO of the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania.

According to Scanlan, the report is one of many tools to assist consumers in choosing healthcare providers. Other sources of information include the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Joint Commission and the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council.

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Pennsylvania’s infection prevention efforts include:

  • The state was selected to participate in the AHRQ national quality improvement program, which is designed to implement Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Programs in ICUs across the state and reduce central-line-associated bloodstream infections.
  • Pennsylvania was the first state to create a patient safety organization, the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority.
  • The state was the first to require the reporting of all healthcare-associated infections and release the first hospital-specific healthcare-associated infection report.
  • Pennsylvania’s hospitals, along with the state’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, developed the Pennsylvania Health Care Quality Alliance, which provides information about publicly available measures.
  • Pennsylvania’s hospitals participate in statewide and regional quality improvement efforts under the auspices of HAP and other organizations.
  • In southeastern Pennsylvania, infection prevention has been a consistent focus of The Partnership for Patient Care, a collaborative, multiyear patient safety effort of the region’s hospitals and other healthcare providers, The Health Care Improvement Foundation, Independence Blue Cross and The Delaware Valley Healthcare Council of HAP

“With the expertise of their infection control professionals and teams, hospitals are employing a number of strategies to reduce the spread of infections,” Scanlan said, “including use of private rooms for patients, health worker influenza vaccination campaigns, hand hygiene compliance programs, equipment designed to reduce infections such as antibiotic-coated catheters, polymerase chain reaction technology (PCR) to quickly detect multidrug-resistant infections, advanced electronic infection surveillance technology and compliance with evidence-based bundles of care.”

HAP is a statewide membership services organization that advocates for nearly 250 Pennsylvania acute and specialty care, primary care, sub-acute care, long-term care, home health and hospice providers.