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3 Lessons U.S. Healthcare Can Learn from France to Cut Infections

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, March 18, 2010

French researchers evaluating their country's national infection control program for healthcare facilities found significant decreases in the rates of healthcare associated infections (HAIs) since initiating mandatory reporting for the their national, regional, and local healthcare facilities in 2004.

While France's government-financed healthcare system is different from the American system, the researchers said that reducing HAIs through public reporting could be successfully applied to other healthcare systems.

The researchers presented their findings this week at the 5th Decennial International Conference on Healthcare Associated Infections 2010 meeting in Atlanta.

The three lessons are:

Make public reporting mandatory. "The national mandatory public reporting system has helped healthcare facilities to improve their infection control measures," said Christian Brun Buisson, MD, one of the researchers, who is chair of the National Infection Control Program at Hospital Henri Mondor in Paris.

"Not only do these facilities have funding tied to their compliance with the program, but the media in France [will] publish a list of best and worst performing hospitals based on each facility's annual report."

The facilities include large university hospitals, ambulatory care, long term care, and small community clinics.

Create targeted objectives. Brun Buisson said 90% of the 2,800-plus facilities participating in the country have reached the highest class (out of six) for meeting targeted objectives to control and stop HAIs.

The infection control measures include the number of MRSA cases per 1,000 patient days, monitoring surgical site infections, and performing antibiotic "stewardship."

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