Dr. Gregory Schears (Rochester, Minn.) outlines his 12-hospital research on IV disinfection cap to reduce deadly infections.
The annual meeting of the Infusion Nurses Society attracted hundreds of nurses from all over the world for its May gathering in Louisville, Ky. With Medicare no longer reimbursing for hospital-acquired infections such as Central-line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI’s), nurses were especially interested in new technologies to reduce these potential deadly infections.
One of the technologies drawing considerable attention was SwabFlush, from Excelsior Medical (a Dowling & Dennis client). SwabFlush combines the SwabCap disinfection cap for needleless IV Connectors with a flush syringe. More information at www.swabflush.com.
Video of Tony Saia (VP of Global Marketing for Excelsior) demonstrating SwabFlush during INS:
If hospitals see more revenue from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) next year, they may owe a thank-you to the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) – and their own infection prevention pros.
SHEA is urging infection control professionals to get up to speed on new CMS requirements for reporting central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs). Starting in 2011, CLABSIs and certain other healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) will have to be reported on the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) for hospitals participating in the CMS Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program. Participation in the programs is voluntary but here’s the catch: Hospitals can’t get full CMS payment without taking part.
How does the process work? Hospitals report their CLABSI data from their adult and pediatric intensive care units and neonatal intensive care units to NHSN, which then shares it with CMS.
Each facility’s data will be also be uploaded to CMS’s Hospital Compare tool, which is designed to publicly report hospital performance so it can be usefully compared.
The focus on CLABSI data will benefit patients will also live in the value of industry’s contributions to preventing infections. Included in the latter, among companies with which we work, are Excelsior Medical and RyMed.
The partnership between CMS and NHSN is intended to create greater transparency of HAI data, make hospitals more accountable for quality care, and boost facility’s support for infection prevention programs and professionals. Read more about NHSN here: http://www.cdc.gov/nhsn/cms-welcome.html/ .
We’ve recently returned from the very successful annual meeting of the Association for Vascular Access (www.avainfo.org). Though many hospitals have reduced the size of their IV teams or eliminated them altogether, it was obvious from last week’s gathering at the gigantic Gaylord conference center in National Harbor, Md. that there is still a substantial cohort of vascular access experts out there, working hard and deeply committed to better patient care.
One of the highlights of the conference for us was doing a focus group with Excelsior Medical, makers of the SwabCap disinfection cap for needleless IV connectors. Excelsior took the time and effort to meet with a small group of nurses to get some qualitative, very informative feedback about the vascular access challenges that nurses face.
Earlier in the month, Excelsior also teamed with AVA to cosponsor a webinar on best methods to disinfect needless connectors. The webinar is archived at http://tinyurl.com/35c6jnt.
The focus group and other feedback indicate that hospitals and vascular access nurses remain open to new and better means to achieve two goals:
1.) Complying with Joint Commission and similar protocols for cleaning needleless connectors/disinfection caps.
2.) Reducing catheter-related bloodstream infections (CRBSI, also known as a central line associated bloodstream infections or CLABSI).
Watch this space for more about the AVA conference and other new technological developments featured at the conference.
If anyone doubted that medical errors carry a hefty price tag — beyond the obvious suffering of patients and their families – that doubt has been removed by a new study.
The Wall Street Journal Health Blog notes that medical errors and associated problems cost the US economy $19.5 billion in 2008, according to a study released today. The study, commissioned by the Society of Actuaries and carried out by the actuarial and consulting firm Milliman, is based on insurance claims data. The report estimates the errors caused more than 2,500 avoidable deaths and over 10 million lost days of work.
The number of avoidable deaths seems awfully low, considering that catheter-related bloodstream infections alone account for an estimated 30,000 deaths among U.S. patients each year. Presumably methodology differences account for the underestimate of CRBSI. Medical errors covered by the study included bed sores, post-op infections and implant or device complications.
Increasingly in our PR practice, we see the need for technology to address medical errors. Sometimes these errors are simple and avoidable – such as the failure to properly clean needleless IV connectors, which can be overcome by the use of Excelsior Medical’s SwabCap device. SwabCap replaces alcohol swabs for cleaning connectors (also known as luer access devices) — making it much easier for nurses to comply with cleaning protocols demanded by the Joint Commission. The device adds the extra safety measure of protecting IV connectors for up to 96 hours, in the pathogen-laden atmosphere of hospital rooms.
The Joint Commission will require hospitals to have a standardized protocol to disinfect catheter luer access valves, starting January 2010. In the face of that new dictum, what’s a hospital to do?
A panel pondering that question – and featuring three national vascular access experts — drew more than 100 nurses at the recent annual meeting of the Association for Vascular Access. Panelists were:
• Lynn Hadaway, M.Ed., RNC, CRNI, infusion therapy expert
• Gregory Schears, MD, Mayo Clinic
• Kelly Fugate, ND, RN, Joint Commission
The panel’s focus: Preventing Intraluminal Contamination from CRBSI’s: Complying with New Guidelines from the Joint Commission & SHEA Compendium.” The event was sponsored by Excelsior Medical, makers of the SwabCap disinfection cap for luer access valves, and moderated by Greg Dennis, of Dowling & Dennis Public Relations.
Dr. Schears led off by outlining the seriousness of catheter-related bloodstream infections, which are all too common despite years of effort aimed at eradicating these potential killers. He said it was a “logical extension” of infection control efforts to cover and disinfect valves with a cap.
Lynn Hadaway outlined a variety of studies on the issue, while Kelly Fugate explained why the Joint Commission has new National Patient Safety Goals that include the disinfection protocol requirement,..
For more on SwabCap, go to http://www.Excelsiormedical.com. Excelsior Medical is a client of Dowling & Dennis Public Relations.
We’re happy to report that even in the economic downturn, we’ve added two new clients:
* Excelsior Medical is a leading maker of prefilled catheter flush syringes. The company is also launching an exciting new technology called SwabCap™. This product promises to pioneer more effective prevention of potentially deadly catheter-related bloodstream infections.
SwabCap provides passive, verifiable disinfection of the top and threads of luer access valves. These valves are a critical part of providing IV medication and nutrition. Both the Joint Commission and SHEA/IDSA Compendium have new guidelines calling for hospitals to have a specific disinfection protocol– meaning Excelsior expects strong demand for SwabCap as part of the company’s focus on preventing intra-luminal contamination of catheters. http://www.ExcelsiorMedical.com
*Novian Health makes the Novilase™ laser ablation device to treat fibroadenomas of the breast. These non-cancerous lumps are a troubling breast health problem for many women. Novilase provides a minimally invasive alternative to surgical lumpectomy, with no scarring and less infection risk. Novilase is FDA-cleared for treating fibroadenomas. http://novianhealth.com