Healthcare-associated infections (HAI) are a threat to patient safety and a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Inpatients who develop HAIs have increased lengths of stay, higher medical expenses and a greater risk of dying while in the hospital. On any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients has at least one HAI. In 2011, U.S. acute care hospitals reported an estimated 722,000 HAIs events, with approximately 75,000 of those patients dying during hospitalization.
A Collaborative Approach
Preventing these deadly infections has been designated a national priority by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). To support this call to action, the Atlantic Quality Innovation Network (AQIN), led by IPRO in New York, in partnership with the Qlarant in Washington DC and the Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence in South Carolina, is working with hospitals and other providers to develop an evidence-based, patient-focused approach to preventing and reducing HAIs in acute-care settings.
During the five-year period ending 2019, hospitals participating in the AQIN projects will work with local, state and national experts to achieve the following goals:
- Decrease HAI Standardized Infection Ratios (SIRs) nationally by demonstrating significant, quantitative and measurable rate reductions for Medicare beneficiaries in acute-care settings.
- Prevent the occurrence of HAIs in hospital settings using evidence-based HAI prevention strategies
The HHS National Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections: Roadmap to Elimination has taken a tiered approach to HAI prevention and reduction, specifically within the hospital setting. The AQIN is aligning with the HHS HAI National Action Plan goals for reducing:
- Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI),
- Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI),
- Clostridium difficile infections (CDI),
- Ventilator Associated Events (VAE)
The AQIN also will focus on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services goals of eliminating disparities, strengthening infrastructure and data systems, enabling local innovations and fostering learning organizations.
Key Strategies & Interventions
The AQIN will support hospitals participating in the HAI CLABSI, CAUTI, CDI, and VAE projects by providing:
- An HAI Collaborative,
- Consultations and coaching,
- Educational webinars,
- National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) training,
- Assistance with HAI data interpretation and development of appropriate interventions,
- Technical assistance and evidence-based tools for HAI prevention.