Failure In Central Line Infection Prevention, Survey Says

07.20.2010 - Healthcare Quality

Only three in 10 hospital administrations are willing to spend what's necessary to prevent catheter-related bloodstream infections, and fewer than one in five providers think their institutions have sufficient infrastructure to train staff in prevention strategies.

And only one in four strongly believe their facility monitors compliance or holds staff accountable for adhering to best prevention practices.

Those are findings from a survey of more than 2,000 health providers—mostly hospital infection preventionists—released on Monday during the 37th annual meeting of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology in New Orleans.

These infections are an increasing concern, with about 80,000 incidents happening each year in hospitals of which 30,000 result in death and with average costs of $30,000 per infected patient costing the U.S. healthcare system more than $2 billion annually.

"The attention or the urgency given to these infections does not seem to match the magnitude of the harm, (in either) resources or accountability," says Peter Pronovost, MD, APIC clinical advisor and professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Pronovost says the problem was miniscule compared to that which caused by faulty brake systems in Toyota cars: "Many of you probably saw the CEO of Toyota publicly apologize (because) four people died a year for five years needlessly, for a total of 20. Those deaths were tragic and he should apologize."

"But we know that in the U.S. alone, 30,000 to 31,000 people die a year from central line-associated bloodstream infections every year, and we have the technology that virtually eliminates that. And to have 75% of these (respondents) say they don't have accountability is alarming. What it speaks to me is an accountability failure in healthcare," says Pronovost.

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