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Reducing Catheter Infections Around the Country with Shared Best Practices

A Texas Health Resources program that reduces catheter infections has been adopted by 78 health systems around the country—and counting

Texas Health Resources developed a process in 2011 to prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infections, which cause 13,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. After reducing catheter line days by 26% in just three months, Texas Health shared their program setup to help others do the same. The program is now in use or being set up at 78 health systems across the country.

The risk of an infection is higher the longer a patient has a catheter, so Texas Health’s program used Epic to remind physicians and nurses to evaluate and remove catheters promptly. They shared their process through a Clinical Program, a guide that includes their setup in Epic and their operational steps so other organizations can replicate their outcomes.

After Sparrow Health System in Michigan started using THR’s program in 2016, they reduced catheter days by 20% and removed 22% more catheters within 48 hours. Sparrow’s managers and directors also analyze catheter days, infection rates, and clinician compliance using analytics to make sure the program continues to be effective.

“One of the advantages of Clinical Programs is that another organization has already done something well, and we can learn exactly what they did,” said Sparrow’s CNIO, Chris Nemets, MSN, RN. “The collaboration with THR was very helpful.”

After hearing about Sparrow and Texas Health’s outcomes, Providence, which operates 51 hospitals across 7 states,adopted the program with additional guidance for clinicians and saw a 64% reduction in CAUTI rates. They also reduced the rate of false positive CAUTI results and unnecessary antibiotic use, saving nearly $1 million in nine months.

In all, 18 different health systems have used Texas Health’s program, and 60 more are implementing it.

The setup for the program is now part of Epic’s Foundation System, so Epic community members can quickly turn it on. You can learn more in the Preventing Hospital Acquired Infections Clinical Program on the UserWeb.