Clean Bill of Health: Infection Control & Epidemiology
Infection Control putting health care associated infection on IC&E
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in American hospitals, health care-associated infections account for an estimated 1.7 million infections and 99,000 associated deaths each year.
Most infections occur while patients are in intensive care. The cost of these infections can be measured in the lives lost or affected, and as increased cost to health care institutions, both in patient satisfaction and dollars.
Infection Control and Epidemiology is the unit that works hard to track, control and prevent health care-associated infections at the U-M Hospitals and Health Centers.
According to Candace Friedman, director, IC&E, the unit evaluates who’s acquiring infections—be it patients and/or staff—and monitors that information. It also monitors what areas need improvement and where things are going well. If there are problems that arise, IC&E conducts a full investigation to determine the cause of the problem and then implements improvement and staff education plans to prevent future infections.
Our IC&E team also works as part of broad collaborations to address issues related to health care-associated infections. One such initiative is the statewide Keystone Project to improve care by implementing evidence-based, best practice interventions to reduce bloodstream infections and ventilator-associated pneumonias, enhance the culture of safety and staff satisfaction, and reduce mortality.
The Keystone Project is a collaboration between IC&E, the Office of Clinical Affairs, Clinical Information and Decision Support Services, ICU staff, the Michigan Hospital Association and Johns Hopkins University. It was implemented in 2004 in the Critical Care Medicine Unit and in 2005 in all other adult ICUs.
Other IC&E projects on the horizon include a new initiative similar to Keystone being conducted in pediatric ICUs in cooperation with the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions. Additionally, a collaboration began last February between IC&E and Nursing Services to reinvigorate hand hygiene activities to prevent infections in patients and staff. Improving hand hygiene in particular is one of the most important things you can do to help prevent the spread of infection.