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Maricopa Targets Zero HAIs by Going ‘Back to Basics’

Through a diligent campaign of education, communication, and process changes aimed at reducing hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS) improved patient safety, reduced the incidence of infection, and shortened patients’ length of stay.

In June 2012, MIHS acted on its concern about HAI rates by launching a Back to Basics campaign to target zero events for all HAIs and to sharpen its focus on improving patient safety and reducing harm caused by infections. The campaign began with a new infection prevention and control newsletter, Targeting Zero, which provides infection education to the system’s more than 4,000 staff members, including quality staff, C-suite, and clinicians.

Hand in hand with education were significant process improvements. For example, the system’s Arizona Burn Unit implemented an ultraviolet light system to disinfect rooms and installed point-of-use PALL water filters to provide sterile-grade water to prevent infections from waterborne organisms. In February 2014, MIHS implemented universal decolonization for all adults admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) to prevent methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections. Through these changes, MIHS achieved zero blood stream infections.

MIHS also began to challenge the perception that some infections seem unavoidable. A multidisciplinary Infection Prevention Champions team began to meet monthly with infection preventionists to consider questions or concerns to track and discuss in the newsletter. Also, a value analysis team performed product trials and analysis to help reduce infections in real time. For example, the team tested various hand hygiene products and equipment and devices used for patient care to ensure safety.

Through its Back to Basics campaign, MIHS has achieved impressive results. For example, as of June 30, 2014, the system’s pediatric ICU unit has gone 457 days without a central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) event, compared with an average interval of 79 days between events in 2011.

The hospital identified four key points to success:

  • perseverance
  • celebrations (celebrating small successes along the way to sustain motivation)
  • support of leadership and physician champions
  • visible liaisons (For example, infection prevention champions and clinical resource leaders (charge nurses) communicate to front-line staff who are unable to attend every meeting, but who are key sources of safety improvement ideas and innovations.)

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