PHILADELPHIA — A Penn Medicine team led by Craig Umscheid, MD, MSCE, FACP, assistant professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and director of the Center for Evidence-based Practice, was awarded by the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council and the Health Care Improvement Foundation with the first place 2012 Delaware Valley Patient Safety Award. The honor, which comes with a $5,000 grant, recognizes the group’s work in leveraging information technology to decrease catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) using actionable alerts linked to the electronic health record.
CAUTIs are the most common type of healthcare-associated infection. As much as 70 percent of CAUTIs may be preventable with recommended infection control measures; resulting in as many as 380,000 fewer infections and preventing as many as 9,000 deaths each year. To help eliminate these infections, the Penn Medicine Center for Evidence-based Practice (CEP) worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to revise the national guidelines on preventing CAUTIs. Then, leaders from Nursing, Infection Control, Quality and Safety, and Information Technology at Penn Medicine collaborated with CEP to integrate the guidelines into computerized clinical decision support to reduce CAUTIs locally.
Over about a year of using this system, the group found that the intervention helped physicians decide whether their patients needed urinary catheters, and alerted physicians when catheters needed to be removed (reducing the days they were used overall).The life-saving technology, together with other health system interventions, reduced CAUTIs by about 50 percent over about one year. Estimates suggest this effort also led to an estimated financial savings of approximately $140,000 annually.