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BCBS Illinois Partners With Device Maker to Fight HAIs

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, September 16, 2010

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and medical device maker CareFusion have formed the 23-hospital Illinois Hospital Quality Initiative (IHQI).The partnership seeks to improve clinical outcomes and cut healthcare costs by reducing hospital acquired infections (HAI) and medication errors.  

IHQI will use CareFusion's MedMined infection surveillance technology to monitor hospitals and alert clinicians to any emerging issues. Using data mining tools similar to those used by credit card companies to monitor unauthorized purchases, the technology identifies patterns indicative of quality breakdowns that uncorrected could lead to infections.

"In today's environment, the prevention and management of infection is one of the most important factors we deal with in order to provide a safe healing environment for patients," said Sister Donna Marie, C.R., executive vice president and CEO of Resurrection Medical Center in Chicago in a statement released Wednesday.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Infection, up to $31.5 billion in healthcare costs could be avoided through prevention of infections because one in 20 patients acquires an infection in a U.S. hospital every year and nearly 100,000 die as a result.

"MedMined services enable us to transition from traditional, targeted surveillance to house-wide, electronic surveillance and to rapidly identify any emergence of trends and enables us to have a proactive approach to infection prevention."

Said David Schlotterbeck, chairman and CEO of CareFusion: "Our partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield continues to expand, helping hospitals protect literally thousands of patients from the devastating effects of health care-associated infections and potential medication errors.

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