There is compelling news this week that the national effort to reduce healthcare-associated Infections (HAIs) is working.

The report from the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) infection tracking system, the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), contains data from more than 11,500 healthcare facilities. It indicates a 41 percent reduction in central-line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) since 2008, up from the 32 percent reduction reported in 2010.

The report also established a 17 percent reduction in surgical site infections (SSIs), a 10% improvement since the CDC’s 2010 report, and a 7 percent reduction in catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs).

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services established the National Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections in 2008 and set goals for reducing these infections by the end of 2013. This report is good news, because it signals steady progress is being made across the country to eliminate HAIs.

HCA has robust infection prevention and patient safety programs to eliminate healthcare-associated infections, including a recent, comprehensive study, known as Randomized Evaluation of Decolonization Versus Universal Clearance to Eliminate (REDUCE) MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

The study was conducted exclusively at 43 HCA-affiliated hospitals, involved nearly 75,000 patients and more than 280,000 patient days in 74 adult ICUs, located in 16 states. It concluded that using antimicrobial soap and a nasal ointment on adult intensive care unit patients reduces bloodstream infections, including MRSA, by 44 percent. The results convinced HCA to begin implementing this protocol, called universal decolonization, in its adult hospital intensive care units in 2013.

The national campaign to reduce HAIs, led by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, helps advance responsible infection prevention and creates a safer environment for our patients.  We thank all the HCA associates whose work each day helps advance safer practices for patients and ultimately, save lives.