Weekly emails to hospital C-suite halt 2 decades of superbug outbreak

 

Washington, DC, April 28, 2014 – Efforts to reduce and stop the spread of infections caused by a highly resistant organism, carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, at a large Florida hospital proved ineffective until they added another weapon – weekly emails from the medical director of Infection Control to hospital leadership, according to a study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

When the hospital added the step of sending comprehensive weekly reports to physician, hospital nursing, medical, and administrative leadership, the rate of A. baumannii transmission decreased by 63 percent, according to the research team from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Prior to this, endemic rates of A. baumannii had been present at the institution for nearly two decades.

“These regular highly visible communications allowed us to create a sense of accountability for new cases that unified both the leadership and providers toward the common goal of decreasing new acquisitions of carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii,” state the study authors.

“These weekly emails not only packaged information on the number and locations of new acquisitions of A. baumannii, but also described and explained the results of environmental initiatives, hand culture results, and identification of shared objects among patients,” add the authors. “Additionally, these communications advised the hospital and each ICU’s leaders about the infection control data and provided action plans based on the findings.”

The bundle of infection prevention measures included 1) patient screening tests upon admission to the ICU and weekly thereafter; 2) isolation and separation of patients testing positive for A. baumannii; 3) weekly sampling of surfaces in the hospital environment to assess thoroughness of cleaning; 4) hand hygiene interventions, including random cultures of healthcare workers’ hands, the results of which were included in the weekly reports; 5) observing shared objects that moved from patient-to-patient; and 6) monthly multidisciplinary meetings to discuss all issues related to implementing the bundle.

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