A unique nationwide patient safety project funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reduced the rate of central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) in intensive care units by 40 percent, according to the agency's preliminary findings of the largest national effort to combat CLABSIs to date. The project used the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) to achieve its landmark results that include preventing more than 2,000 CLABSIs, saving more than 500 lives and avoiding more than $34 million in health care costs.
The agency and key project partners from the American Hospital Association (AHA) and Johns Hopkins Medicine discussed these dramatic findings at the AHRQ annual conference today in Bethesda, Md., and introduced the CUSP toolkit that helped hospitals accomplish this marked reduction.
"CUSP shows us that with the right tools and resources, safety problems like these deadly infections can be prevented," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "This project gives us a framework for taking research to scale in practical ways that help front-line clinicians provide the safest care possible for their patients."
CLABSIs are one type of healthcare-associated infection (HAI). HAIs are infections that affect patients while they are receiving treatment for another condition in a health care setting. HAIs are a common complication of hospital care, affecting one in 20 patients in hospitals at any point in time.
The national project involved hospital teams at more than 1,100 adult intensive care units (ICUs) in 44 states over a 4-year period. Preliminary findings indicate that hospitals participating in this project reduced the rate of CLABSIs nationally from 1.903 infections per 1,000 central line days to 1.137 infections per 1,000 line days, an overall reduction of 40 percent.