Home » Newsroom

PUBLIC FOCUS ON PATIENT SAFETY

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued two hospital-specific reports on April 14 that track healthcare acquired infections (HAI) and serious reportable events (SRE). One report shows that 97% of Massachusetts acute care hospitals are at or below nationwide HAI rates. This first annual HAI report, covering the time period of July 2008 through June 2009, tracked HAIs relating to central line associated blood stream infections in adult, pediatric and neonatal ICUs, as well as surgical site infections related to hip and knee arthroplasties. According to DPH Director of Communicable Disease Control Dr. Al DeMaria, the two hospitals with HAI incidence above the national rates recognized the problem and corrected it, resulting in no new infections. David Smith, MHA's Sr. Dir. of Clinical Affairs, said hospitals expect to use the data as a foundation for improvement and reduction in infections.

The second annual report on Serious Reportable Events (SREs) covered calendar year 2009 and included 383 SREs in acute care hospitals, compared to 338 in the prior year.  The increase is believed to be due to better reporting and more experience with the system, as well as more consistent reporting of pressure ulcers. As part of the SRE report, DPH noted the success of the Falls Prevention Coalition, which MHA helps lead along with the Mass. Pressure Ulcer Collaborative. DPH also cited www.PatientCareLink.org – developed by MHA and the Mass. Organization of Nurse Executives – as an initiative that along with other resources, is "advancing the work of identifying and reducing SREs in the Commonwealth."

Although Massachusetts hospitals are making strides in reducing HAIs and SREs, there is still much room for continued improvement.  Overall, very little progress has been made in eliminating healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), according to a new section in the 2009 National Healthcare Quality Report and National Healthcare Disparities Report issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.