Simple checklist at NYC public hospitals effective in preventing infections

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A "simple checklist" used by the 11 New York City public hospitals is "credited with drastically reducing" the number of infections at the facilities, the New York Times reports.

The checklist, which the city Health and Hospital Corporation adopted in 2005, includes 14 steps to complete during medical procedures to help prevent infections. One hospital staff member, in most cases a nurse, checks the items on the list during medical procedures to ensure the completion of each step.

Since the adoption of the checklist, the number of central-line bloodstream infections at the hospitals has decreased by 55%, and the number of cases of ventilator-associated pneumonia has decreased by 78%, according to statistics released last week.

Peter Pronovost, a professor at Johns Hopkins University who developed the checklist, said that the list provides a "simple intervention to help you focus and execute." Alan Aviles, president of the corporation, said, "What's going on in the critical care units is so complicated that the simple things get overlooked." However, the checklist "can be cumbersome and time-consuming," the Times reports.

According to the Times, the hospitals are "cracking down" on infections, at one time considered "collateral damage of advanced lifesaving techniques," in part because Medicare and some private health insurers have begun to end reimbursements for certain preventable conditions (Hartocollis, New York Times, 5/19).

Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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