01:48pm Tuesday 12 November 2019

Consumer Reports Blood Infections and Patient Safety

At Children’s, we take central line infections seriously and have a goal to reduce central line-associated blood stream infection rates to zero. By following national best practices and standardizing the steps we take to prevent infections, we’ve reduced the rate of hospital acquired bloodstream infections from 4.7 per 1,000 line days in 2006 to 3.3 per 1,000 line days in 2009.

While we applaud Consumer Reports for developing a system for health care consumers to compare hospitals, readers should be aware that the rates are not adjusted for severity of illness and there is variance in the methods of collection and how aggressively hospitals identify infections.

For example, we have a high level of complex, bone marrow transplant patients who have multiple risk factors including low white blood cell counts. In the last ten years, we have had an 80 percent reduction in blood stream infections for bone marrow transplant patients. In addition, we have also reduced our blood stream infection rate in our Intensive Care Unit by 50 percent over the last three years. Pediatric intensive care units (ICUs) have traditionally had higher BSI rates than adult ICUs.  

We use evidenced-based protocols for the insertion and maintenance of central lines, and we continually monitor the lines to determine when they can be removed. When there is a blood stream infection, we conduct an investigative review with the patient, parents and medical providers to identify how to prevent this in the future. We have been tracking and using evidence-based improvement methodologies for years to improve our care.

Patient safety is at the core of our mission at Seattle Children’s Hospital and we continually strive to improve on all aspects of patient care. We have well-developed policies and procedures in place for immediate response to medical errors, disclosure of errors to patients and families, and clear systems for internal and external reporting of errors.

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