An initiative aimed to greatly reduce the rate of blood stream infections, has found success, reducing the rate by 40%, reports the Wall Street Journal. These infections are generally associated with the insertion of catheters, or central lines, used to transport drugs and other liquids directly into major veins. The Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program came to life after the death of an 18-month-old child, Josie King, at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 2001.
The program was implemented nation-wide, in 1,100 adult ICU’s in 44 states over a 4 year period. While the initiative did not introduce any revolutionary ideas, it instead identified and created checklists of the best safety practices, integrating them into the daily practices of health care professionals. These practices consist of simple acts, such as hand washing and using the correct disinfectant at the site of insertion. Success of this program lies not only in the practices themselves but in health care professionals making them a consistent habit.
This program shows that policy makers don’t need to strip rights away from patients to cut health-care costs and increase patient safety. It is up to doctors, nurses, specialists, and other health care professionals to continue to follow safety protocols and good safety practices in order to keep patients healthy and safe. By consistently washing their hands, covering up patients and care givers when a catheter is inserted, and using the right disinfectant, health care providers are estimated to have prevented at least 2,000 infections, saved more than 500 lives and $34 million in health-care costs.
To read more about the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program go to WSJ.com