UW Health: UW Hospital and Clinics earns national honor for reducing infections

Mike Klawitter

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(608) 265-8199

MADISON—University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics was recognized today for taking a major step forward in reducing health care-associated infections (HAI), as it received the 2013 Partnership in Prevention Award through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. The hospital received the award during a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

“It’s a huge honor, and we are very pleased,” said Dr. Nasia Safdar, the hospital’s infection-control chief and associate professor of medicine at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. “It’s recognition of the hard work the entire organization has put in for several years to reduce infections. In that sense, it is very gratifying to be recognized for your efforts.”

The hospital was applauded for implementing interventions that helped prevent two of the most common HAIs: ventilator-associated pneumonia in the neuroscience intensive-care unit and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI).

The number of CAUTIs dropped more than 25 percent in 2012 compared to the previous year. UW Hospital staff used several initiatives to lower HAIs, including daily rounds on patients with indwelling catheters, catheter-removal protocols embedded in the electronic health record, declaring CAUTI “champions” on each unit, and a CAUTI toolbox on the hospital’s Web site.

Similar programs were used in the reduction of ventilator-associated pneumonia cases, which fell nearly 87 percent from the period of January-October 2011 to November 2011- June 2013. The hospital has extended these programs to the medical-surgical intensive care unit, and similar reductions have been recorded.

Staff hand-washing compliance rates also nearly doubled since 2012 after implementing the World Health Organization’s hygiene campaign “Five Moments for Hand Hygiene.” The hospital developed training videos, rewards and incentives, and standardized hand-hygiene observation forms.

“Proper hand hygiene is the underpinning of all our initiatives to reduce infections,” Safdar said. “Without it, we would not have achieved the successes we had in the other interventions. Once the hand hygiene campaign gained momentum, and everyone bought into it, it took on a life of its own.”

Safdar commended the work of the infection preventionists at UWHC and the many front-line staff that led the infection prevention initiatives.