Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority's initiative to raise awareness of healthcare-associated infections

The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority supports "International Infection Prevention Week," October 18-24, 2009, to raise awareness of the need to protect patients and the public from healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) sponsor's the effort with the theme "Infection Prevention is Everyone's Business."

Nursing homes will be able to use new analytical tools on October 14, 2009 provided by the Authority to study their infection data. A new infection prevention screensaver is also available on the Authority's Web site as a daily reminder for healthcare workers.

"The Authority has enhanced its reporting system by providing online tools that allow nursing homes to analyze their own infection data," Mike Doering, executive director of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority said. "These analytical tools will give nursing home users a variety of ways to view their data so they can learn more about what's happening in their facility. Hopefully, this additional information will lead to process changes in their facilities to help prevent healthcare-associated infections.

"Once these process changes are made facilities can also use the analytical tools to monitor the success of the changes," Doering added.

The Authority has collected infection data from Pennsylvania hospitals and ambulatory surgical facilities (ASFs) since June 2004 through the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System (PA-PSRS). In 2007, a new law was passed making it mandatory for hospitals to report HAIs through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN).The Authority receives the reports through NHSN and analyzes them for its educational purposes.

In June 2009, nursing homes began reporting infections to the Authority through PA-PSRS. To date, the Authority has collected over 10,000 infection reports from Pennsylvania nursing homes.

"The Authority continues to work with the Department of Health, the Pennsylvania Healthcare Cost Containment Council and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce the number of infections in Pennsylvania's hospitals," Doering said. "Also, we expect in the next year or so to have one of the most comprehensive nursing home infection databases in the country as a result of the data collection implemented by Pennsylvania law."

"While the nursing homes have just begun reporting, we have received very positive feedback from them in regard to the ease of using the system and the general sense that the effort it takes to report them is a necessary step to help learn how to prevent them," Doering added.

Also, the Authority has recently offered two educational webinars, one for hospitals and one for nursing homes, on how to prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

"Both programs were very well attended with positive feedback," Doering said. "While we've been providing various educational programs for hospitals and ASFs, this was the first time we've offered an educational program for nursing homes.

"The program reached capacity quickly, which shows the eagerness of the nursing homes for infection control information," Doering added.

The data collected from facilities are reviewed and analyzed by the Authority with guidance given through the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory -- a quarterly publication. The Advisory is geared toward healthcare professionals and facility administrators, and the Authority develops consumer tips when possible to encourage the public to participate in their healthcare and help reduce the likelihood of a medical error.

Two infections that have garnered consumer tips information are methicillinresistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA (pronounced Mer-sa) and Clostridium difficile (pronounced klo-STRID-ee-um dif-uh-SEEL) or C. diff. Both infections have become a growing concern in the healthcare industry.

Source:

Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority

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