Vaughan responds to infection report results

Published 7:48pm Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Residents across Alabama now have access to information on healthcare-associated infections as reported by the state’s hospitals.

In an annual report, the Alabama Department of Public Health provides hospital specific infection data for several types of infections from January to December of 2011, including catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI), central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSI), surgical site infections for colon surgeries and for abdominal hysterectomies (SSI).

The report shows statistics from low, medium and high volume hospitals in seven regions — North, Northeast, Birmingham, West, Central, Southwest and Southeast.

In the report, Vaughan Regional Medical Center is categorized as a medium volume hospital in the central region.

Vaughan reported 49 abdominal hysterectomies and zero SSI, 43 colon surgeries and one SSI, 1,704 central line days and two CLABSI and 3, 595 catheter days and seven CAUTI.

While the numbers indicate a facility that does not have statistically, significantly different infections compared to national averages, the number of CAUTI is higher than all others in the medium volume hospitals in the central region, and equal to some of the high volume hospitals.

“At Vaughan Regional, we recognized a need to improve processes related to Foley insertions and daily maintenance,” Merrill South, director of community relations for Vaughan said regarding the number of infections stemming from catheter associated care. “Our response to improving these processes was education with our staff regarding process improvement related to patient care. We updated Foley catheter kits to aid in nurse compliance with measures to reduce infections upon insertion.  We have also developed better inpatient reporting per CDC definitions.”

South said the evidence of success in the process changes is two CAUTI for the first ten months of 2012.

“Just like other Alabama hospitals, Vaughan Regional has always worked to prevent the spread of infections and have been very successful when compared to other hospitals across the nation,” South said. “The report is important in that it provides information about certain aspects of hospital care. However, it is only the first report on three categories of infection prevention. This report should be viewed over time and should not be used as the sole basis for choosing a hospital.”

South said consumers should consider many factors when choosing a hospital and should view as many quality reports as possible.

“Most importantly, they should talk with their physician about the care needed and any concerns they might have,” she said. “This infection report is an important first step in providing the public with information, as well as giving providers benchmarking information.  However, we suggest consumers consider the full report and understand that this is only 12 months of data. The best advice is to read as much as you can and then discuss any concerns with your physician.”

Dr. Donald Williamson, state health officer, agreed and said the report should not take the place of discussions between patients and their physicians when choosing a hospital.

“While this report is important and helpful, it should not be used as the sole factor in the selection of a hospital,” he said. “Our first report is very positive. When compared to the rest of the nation, Alabama’s hospitals performed better than the national average on three of the four categories reported and similar to the national average on the other. We congratulate hospitals’ infection practitioner for their diligence in combating the spread of infection and providing a safe environment for patient care.”

The annual report can be found online at www.adph.org/hai

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