How Legacy Reduced Infections 40 Percent
For the past two years, Legacy Health System has seriously reduced harm
May 12, 2010 -- When Jodi Joyce, vice president of quality and patient safety for Legacy Health System, testified before the House Health Care Committee in February, she delivered a startling fact.
Over the past two years, Legacy has reduced by 39 percent the occurrence of four types of infections that together constitute more than 90 percent of hospital-acquired infections. At the same time, it reduced inpatient mortality 13 percent.
Beginning in April 2008, the team at Legacy focused on catheter-associated urinary tract infections, central line-associated blood stream infections, ventilator-acquired pneumonia and surgical site infections, said Joyce, who arrived at Legacy in the summer of 2007.
“We already had efforts on the way for each of those. But we had 80 other things we were also working on. It competed for the nurse’s time and the quality staff’s ability to support. In 2008 we decided to put that under a laser focus.”
Coincidentally, the laser focus came just about the same time that the Oregon legislature was getting serious about a public reporting program led by Rep. Mitch Greenlick (D-Portland) as chair of the House Health Care Committee.
Joyce said Legacy favors public disclosure, but it wasn’t their motivation for improving. “When we looked at where harm was occurring and where there was good information that we could be achieving a better result than we were, infections were just at the top of the list.”
She attributes their success to “best practice” bundles. “They are a small set of proven practices when done consistently together over time results in a dramatic reduction in infections,” Joyce said.
When the first ever report on hospital-acquired infections becomes public later this month, it will show that Legacy has some improvements to make. That’s in part because the reporting requirements focus only on intensive care units, Joyce said.
“The fact we’ve been doing this work across all of our hospitals instead of just our intensive care units has meant that in some places we haven’t yet made all of the improvements available,” she said.
Dee Dee Vallier, a consumer advocate on the infection advisory committee, said Legacy’s efforts are admirable. “It’s really huge for a hospital system to step up to the plate and say we will clean up because it does affect their bottom line,” Vallier said.
For a look at a report describing Legacy's infection-control accomplishments click here.
For related articles on infections click here.
May 13 2010