Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report showing that central line-associated bloodstream infections in hospital ICUs decreased by 58% in 2009 compared to 2001. That decrease represents up to 27,000 lives saved over those years with a cost savings of up to $1.8 billion. While this is great news, there are still far too many infections occurring in ICUs, where many patients have central lines placed in their veins, as well as in non-ICU hospital settings and in dialysis clinics.
In recent years, many hospitals have adopted a set of protocols developed by Dr. Peter Pronovost to reduce bloodstream infections. One important component is the use of a checklist with steps to follow to decrease the risk of infection when inserting and maintaining central lines. HCFA and the Consumer Health Quality Council are supporting a bill that requires hospitals in MA to use proven checklists such as this one. Learn more about the bill from our factsheet (.doc).
Finally, the CDC also has a webpage with information for patients and families about how you can help to prevent infections. And encourage the health care providers and the medical school students you know to also view pages like this one. Empowered and engaged patients can only get so far if their providers are not willing to listen.