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Dignity Health Hospitals Reduce Hospital Acquired Infections


Dignity Health selected to participate in the Partnership for Patients’ Hospital Engagement Network for the third consecutive year.

Dignity Health, one of the five largest health systems in the nation, announced in two years it has reduced hospital–acquired infections and readmissions, positively affecting more than 10,000 patients and potentially saving an estimated $30 million as a result of efforts across the health system from Jan. 2012 through Dec. 2013. 

In recognition of the health system’s ongoing successes, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services named Dignity Health as one of its Partnership for Patients Hospital Engagement Networks for a third consecutive year to continue implementing changes that improve patient care. The Hospital Engagement Networks, formed by the federal Partnership for Patients initiative and made possible by the Affordable Care Act, is making significant strides towards better patient care at an affordable cost.

Dignity Health operates four hospitals in the Sacramento region. During the time period from January 2012 through December 2013, Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento, Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Carmichael, Methodist Hospital of Sacramento and Mercy Hospital of Folsom, introduced specific evidence–based practices and bedside intervention activities to audit and coordinate the Hospital Engagement Network initiatives at the bedside with care providers, including physicians.  

Mercy General Hospital reduced the number of cases of early elective deliveries by 100 percent with staff education and communication, perinatal safety meetings and monthly chart audits. Mercy San Juan Medical Center has had no early elective deliveries since January 2012. The hospital offers education modules for physicians and nurses to improve communication and understanding for the clinical team, with 100 percent participation. Mercy Hospital of Folsom implemented stroke care protocols that were followed for every stroke patient at the hospital during this time period; and Methodist Hospital reduced the number of hospital acquired pressure ulcers by 46 percent.

As one of 26 hospital organizations and associations that comprise the national Hospital Engagement Network, Dignity Health focused on providing better quality care across 10 patient safety areas that were identified through the partnership. Dignity Health is committed to every initiative across all its hospitals, including seven new measures just launched in January this year. The efforts implemented across Dignity Health hospitals reveal that the organization has reached its goal of improving patient care in six out of the 10 patient safety areas before the three year target date. 

“I’d like to thank our physicians, nurses and staff for their efforts to reduce hospital–acquired infections and hospital readmissions,” said Page West, Chief Nurse Executive for Dignity Health. “Our patients are the ones who most benefit from the improvements we have made and for that I am truly grateful to our team of caregivers.”

Best Practices Add Up to Big Results

Dignity Health is narrowing in on its overall goal of reducing the rate of hospital–acquired infections by 40 percent and readmissions by 20 percent before 2015. To achieve this goal, the hospital system introduced specific evidence–based practices and bedside intervention activities, called MeasureVention, to evaluate full adoption of safe preventive practices and assure coordination of care at the bedside with clinicians, including physicians.

Best practices deployed system wide ensured procedures were conducted as routinely and as safely as possible. For example, nurses and doctors only inserted catheters if absolutely necessary, changing the previously presumed notion that catheters were innocuous, which led to a large decrease in urinary tract infections. Insulin treatments were given to patients at specific times in relation to their meals lowering the overall hypoglycemic rate.

Dignity Health also enlisted the help of MeasureVentionists, nurses that have been through specialized training programs to examine current patients’ conditions, and measure their risk for infection and readmission. Through their work, MeasureVentionists were able to assess and document whether protocols were being followed ultimately, raising the bar of patient care across the system.

About Dignity Health

Dignity Health, one of the nation’s five largest health care systems, is a 21–state network of nearly 9,000 physicians, 55,000 employees, and more than 380 care centers, including hospitals, urgent and occupational care, imaging centers, home health, and primary care clinics. Headquartered in San Francisco, Dignity Health is dedicated to providing compassionate, high–quality and affordable patient–centered care with special attention to the poor and underserved. In 2013, Dignity Health provided nearly $1.7 billion in charitable care and services. For more information, please visit our website at www.dignityhealth.org. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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