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CDC, Premier Test Effectiveness of Infection Prevention Tool

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, May 4, 2010

A joint research initiative to test new technologies for predicting incidents of central line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) will be conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Premier healthcare alliance. The reporting of these adverse events will be automatically sent to the CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), the groups announced Monday.

This initiative is based on the success of a pilot project of CDC's Prevention Epicenter Program, which identifies and evaluates effective healthcare associated infection (HAI) prevention strategies with research through a network of academic centers.

The initiative will analyze specific traits of positive blood cultures across a subset of Premier's more than 2,300 member hospitals. This will be used to develop an automated electronic surveillance tool for accurately predicting the presence of CLABSIs. Researchers from the Chicago Prevention Epicenter at Stroger (Cook County) Hospital, in Chicago, will evaluate the tool to determine effectiveness.

If the tool works, it would be used as part of a decision support process to flag potential CLASBIs events and to avoid additional infections. The tool also will be used to automate a more standardized method of HAI detection and to assist reporting to NHSN using data already used within existing health information systems.

"By decreasing the time involved in identifying HAIs, more energy can be placed on prevention activities," said Denise Cardo, MD, director of CDC's Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion.

Central line associated bloodstream infections currently affect approximately 250,000 patients in the U.S. each year, according to the CDC. Associated costs can range from $5,734 to $22,939 per patient.

Research and testing of the CLASBIs electronic surveillance tool is expected to take about two years. At the end of the initiative, the tool will be included in Premier's SafetySurveillor, a Web based application used for automated infection control, surveillance and medication management. The tool will be made publicly available for use with other infection prevention offerings.


Janice Simmons is a senior editor and Washington, DC, correspondent for HealthLeaders Media Online. She can be reached at jsimmons@healthleadersmedia.com.

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