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News

New benchmarking tool helps Alabama Hospitals compare infection prevention performance

Cardinal Health : 30 April, 2008  (Application Story)
Cardinal Health has introduced a new benchmarking tool from MedMined services that allow hospitals to compare risk-adjusted infection rates in each unit of a hospital to peer units in similar hospitals to help identify best practices and areas for improvement.
The MedMined benchmarking tool graphs the incidence of health care associated infections (HAIs) in all of the units in a hospital to visually present the current infection rate compared to its peers. The tool also indicates whether the infection rate in each unit is improving or not, making it easy for hospitals to identify areas of success and opportunities for improvement.

The approach enables hospitals to compare their incidence of HAIs with other hospitals that are clinically risk adjusted to be in the same peer category. Peer comparisons are made using multiple factors including the size and type of the unit and the hospital, as well as the severity of illness of patients in each unit. In addition to monitoring and comparing each unit separately, all units may be combined to compare the entire hospital to its peer group.

'Hospitals are finding value in the ability to compare their results with their peers,' said J Michael Horsley, president of the Alabama Hospital Association. 'When hospitals know which area needs the most focus and which hospitals perform best for that type of unit, we can open a dialogue for improvement that raises performance across all hospitals.'

Infection rates are determined hospital-wide using the MedMined nosocomial infection marker (NIM), an objective, electronic measure of the incidence of HAIs. Because infection incidence is measured consistently with the NIM, comparisons among hospitals are a meaningful way to identify best practices and focus resources where they have the highest likelihood of reducing HAIs.

'Knowing that East Alabama Medical Center is among the best in the state for infection prevention performance validates the effort we have put behind Patient safety initiatives that have reduced infections across our hospital,' said Benja Morgan, Infection control and employee health manager of East Alabama Medical Center. 'But the real benefit from the benchmarking tool is in knowing how other hospitals perform and sharing knowledge and best practices to ensure continued improvement.'

MedMined services launched the benchmarking tool in February 2008 as an additional feature for 46 hospitals in Alabama.

The new tool will be discussed in detail at the Alabama Quality Forum, being held today in Birmingham, Ala. in conjunction with the Alabama Hospital Quality Initiative (AHQI) best practice meeting. AHQI is a partnership between MedMined services, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama and the Alabama Hospital Association. Members of the Alabama Hospital Association's Quality Task Force as well as Infection control Professionals from Alabama's Association for Professionals in Infection control (APIC) group worked for more than a year with MedMined services to provide input into the design of the benchmarking system.

The benchmarking capability will be rolled out to hospitals across the country that use MedMined services in a phased approach starting in May, and will become part of the standard package at no additional fee.

'Understanding a true hospital-wide view of HAIs is the first step to improving infection prevention,' said Patrick Hymel, MD, vice president and general manager of Cardinal Health's MedMined services. 'The MedMined benchmarking tool is a big step forward in allowing best practices in infection prevention to be accurately identified and rapidly shared among a community of hospitals.'

In this first-of-its-kind effort to encourage transparency and facilitate best practice sharing, hospitals using this new tool can voluntarily allow other hospitals to see the name of their institution in the benchmarking results. Those hospitals that choose to disclose their facility can see other hospitals who also granted permission to reveal their names in the results. Hospitals that choose to remain anonymous cannot view any other specific hospital names in the benchmarking results, even those who have chosen to be disclosed.
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