The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released its annual National and State Healthcare-Associated Infections Progress Report, which found that acute care hospitals have made progress in eliminating health care-associated infections (HAIs) – though more work remains. The CDC lists the Partnership for Patients (PfP), which includes the association’s Essential Hospitals Engagement Network (EHEN), among initiatives that have lowered the rate of HAIs.

The CDC mentions significant reductions nationally for nearly all infections, with the most gains in central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) and surgical site infections (SSIs). CLABSIs, which occur when bacteria enter the bloodstream through a catheter, have decreased 46 percent between 2008 and 2013. And SSIs, which occur after surgery in the part of the body where the surgery took place, have decreased 19 percent between 2008 and 2013. The SSIs tracked in the report are specific to 10 select surgical procedures.

Data are reported through the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), which more than 14,500 health care facilities nationwide use to track HAIs. The CDC discusses the importance of using data to evaluate HAIs and develop prevention strategies. For example, the report shows a 6 percent increase in catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) since 2009. CAUTIs are bladder infections (that can reach the kidneys) caused by bacteria that enter the urinary system through a urinary catheter. However, the CDC notes that initial 2014 data are now indicating a reversal of this trend, with CAUTIs starting to decrease, and credits initiatives such as the PfP with using existing data to target patient safety improvements.

The PfP is a national initiative that aims to reduce preventable hospital-acquired conditions and readmissions. As one of the PfP’s 26 hospital engagement networks, the EHEN makes use of the NHSN as one of several data collection and reporting tools.

Read more on EHEN members’ innovative techniques for reducing harm across all nine of the PfP’s targeted conditions.