Reduced central line infections? Check.

By ThinkReliability Staff

Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit has achieved remarkable reductions in bloodstream infections associated with central lines. They’ve reduced the rate of infections significantly by implementing a simple procedure and checklist. We will perform a root cause analysis that shows how these gains were achieved.

First, the hospital needed to determine what was at stake. Over 18 months, it was estimated that more than 1500 patients would die from infections. This is an impact to the patient safety goal. There was non-compliance with procedures, which is an impact to the compliance and organization goals. Infections result in a longer intensive care unit (ICU) stay, which is an impact to the patient services goal. Lastly, the hospital estimated that, over the 18 months, it would spend $175 million in additional costs from these infections.

Next, the stakeholders in the central line insertion process (doctors and nurses) were asked to help determine why these infections were occurring. Bloodstream infections resulting from intravenous catheters result when a catheter is inserted (for vascular access) with bacteria on it. Generally, the bacteria is on the catheter from a missed step in the catheter process which prevents contamination. The steps that were not always being followed were: doctors washing their hands and donning protective wear, patients not being washed with antiseptic or fully draped, and insertion sites not being covered with sterile dressing after the catheter is inserted.

As a solution, a checklist was created that outlined the six steps of catheter insertion. (The outline, Cause Map, process map, solutions, and checklist are shown on the downloadable PDF. To view it, click on “Download PDF” above.) The six steps included the cleanliness steps discussed above. Additionally, the medical professionals noticed that sometimes the procedures weren’t being followed because the necessary equipment was not available in the ICUs. Senior executives from the hospital were assigned to each unit, and were able to properly stock the ICUs. Additionally, the executives got Arrow International to manufacture central line kits that contained the necessary antiseptic and patient drapes.

The progress at Sinai-Grace has been remarkable, by joining all the necessary parties to an effective root cause analysis. Click on “Download PDF” to see what they did. (Read more in The New Yorker Annals of Medicine.)