honor efforts to eliminate HAIs
The Critical Care Societies Collaborative (CCSC), in partnership with the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announces recipients in
the 2013 National Awards Program to Recognize Achievements in Eliminating
Health Care-Associated Infections (HAIs). Eight hospitals and healthcare
facilities were honored for successful and sustained efforts to prevent HAIs,
specifically infections in critical care settings.
HAIs are infections acquired while patients are receiving medical treatment
for other conditions. At any given time, about one in every 20 patients has
an infection related to their hospital care. These infections cost the U.S.
healthcare system billions of dollars each year and lead to the loss of tens
of thousands of lives. In addition, HAIs can have devastating emotional,
financial and medical consequences.
"HHS and its government and non-government partners have seen rapid progress
in reducing rates of several infections, especially in intensive care
settings, since the launch of the National Action Plan to Prevent Health
Care-Associated Infections: Road Map to Elimination," said HHS Deputy
Assistant Secretary for Health Don Wright, MD, MPH. "This progress is due in
large part to the leadership, dedication, and hard work of hospital teams
such as those that we honor through this joint HHS-CCSC Awards Program.
Thanks to these frontline clinicians and professionals, we are on track to
achieve most 2013 national targets and extend the effort beyond hospitals to
ambulatory and long-term care settings."
Award recipients demonstrated success in reducing and eliminating central
line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI), ventilator-associated
pneumonia (VAP) or catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) for
25 months or longer and show national leadership in sharing their
evidence-based initiatives to improve clinical practice. These are among the
most common HAIs that patients acquire while receiving medical treatment for
Leaders of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health HAI
initiative partnered with CCSC — a multidisciplinary organization composed
of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), American College
of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society and Society of Critical Care
Medicine — to launch the three-year awards program in 2010.
AACN Senior Director Ramon Lavandero, RN, MA, MSN, FAAN, noted the potential
impact of the awards program. "During the three years for which it was
planned, this interdisciplinary awards program has increased health
professionals' awareness of best practices used by peer institutions to
reduce or eliminate health care-associated infections."
Awardees were recognized May 20 in Boston during AACN's National Teaching
Institute & Critical Care Exposition. Award recipients (alphabetized by
- Intensive Care Unit,
Franciscan St. Francis Health, Mooresville, IN (CAUTI)
- Surgical ICU and
Trauma Burn ICU, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor (VAP)
- Medical Surgical ICU,
HealthEast St. John's Hospital, Maplewood, MN (CLABSI)
- Beth Israel Medical
Center, New York City (CAUTI)
- ICU, Novant Health
Presbyterian Medical Center, Charlotte, NC; ICU, Novant Health Matthews
Medical Center, Matthews, NC; and ICU, Novant Health Huntersville Medical
Center, Huntersville, NC (VAP)
- Cardiac Intermediate
Unit, East Carolina Heart Institute at Vidant Medical Center, Greenville,
- Medical Intermediate
Unit, Vidant Medical Center, Greenville, NC (VAP)
- Medical University of
South Carolina, Charleston (CLABSI)
In addition to the eight awardees, 11 healthcare organizations received
honorable mention recognition for their efforts toward eliminating HAIs
within their facilities. Facilities receiving honorable mention in this
year's awards program are listed online at
According to the most recent national data, reported in October 2012, CLABSI
in hospital ICUs and wards have been reduced by 41 percent, on track to meet
or surpass the HAI Action Plan target of a 50-percent reduction by the end
of 2013. CAUTI in ICUs and hospital wards have been reduced by 7 percent, on
track to meet the year-end target of a 25-percent reduction.
For additional information, visit the
HHS Action Plan to Prevent Health Care-Associated Infections and the
for Patients websites.
Forget to take
medicine? These pills will tell your doctor
Startup companies are coming up with new technologies aimed at getting
people to take medicine only as directed. Taking medication
haphazardly—skipping doses, lapsing between refills or taking pills beyond
their expiration date—has been linked to health complications and hundreds
of millions of wasted dollars for insurers and hospitals.
"After six months' time, only half of people taking prescription medicines
are taking them as directed," said Troyen Brennan, chief medical officer of
drug retailer CVS Caremark Corp.
Health insurers and pharmacy-benefits managers like CVS have long relied on
robo-calls, mailers and face-to-face meetings with pharmacists to keep
patients on their dosing schedule.
Now they are evaluating a range of more cost-effective technologies, from
pills and bottles with digital sensors, to data analytics software and
social games that offer patients rewards.
Insurers and pharmacies are motivated in part by Medicare, which offers
financial rewards for proving their members have improved their overall
adherence to medication schedules.
They also stand to benefit if their members are healthier. The New England
Healthcare Institute estimates that some $290 billion in costs is wasted
each year on unnecessary hospital and doctor visits by people who failed to
comply with their medication schedule.
CVS is pilot-testing technology from Virginia-based RxAnte Inc., which sells
an analytics platform that looks at millions of patients' claims data and
clinical data to identify people at highest risk of failing to comply with
doctors' orders. These patients include people with a spotty track record of
adherence, those who take several different medicines or those facing
unwanted side effects, Chief Executive Josh Benner said.
Other companies are coming up with ways to help entice, rather than badger,
customers. San Francisco-based Mango Health Inc. just released an app that
lets users earn points toward prizes—such as gift cards from Target Corp. or
a charitable donation in the patient's name—for adhering to their
Beyond data and apps, startups are working on digitizing the pills and
Proteus Digital Health Inc. places tiny, digestible sensors inside of pills
to get an objective accounting of who is taking what medicine. The sensors
are the size of a grain of sand and are made up of copper, magnesium and
silicon, amounts well below a human being's recommended daily allowance of
such minerals, said Andrew Thompson, chief executive of the Redwood City,
The sensor beams data such as when the pill was ingested to a disposable
strip worn on the skin like a Band-Aid that sends the data to a mobile app.
With patient permission, doctors or loved ones can access the phone app to
"There is no radio, no antenna," Thompson said. "It's literally powered by
you." Thompson said the first digital drugs will be available in 2014 or
early 2015. Proteus, which is backed by Medtronic Inc., Otsuka
Pharmaceutical Co., Novartis AG, Kaiser Permanente and venture firms, has
licensing and commercialization deals with Otsuka and Novartis, he said.
Thompson said that sensor-embedded pills are appropriate for older patients,
who often take multiple medications, and for sufferers of conditions like
tuberculosis, where going off a medication regimen can have disastrous
Other companies are remaking the medicine bottle. AdhereTech Inc. is
developing an automated pill bottle filled with sensors that measure how
much medicine is left. The bottle glows blue when it is time to take a dose,
and red when the dosage is missed. The bottle can also beam data to
AdhereTech's servers and send text alerts as reminders.
Even product-design firm IDEO is thinking about ways to boost prescription
adherence. IDEO designers Kuen Chang and Jin Ko have designed a pill bottle
that begins to resemble an overripe banana once a medicine is past its
expiration date. The bottle is in concept stage and hasn't been developed.
"It produces a gut reaction," the husband-and-wife design team said.
"Without thinking about it, you just really don't want to eat that banana."
Wall Street Journal for the article.
one-third of deaths from Hurricane Sandy
One-third of the victims who died because of Hurricane Sandy drowned,
according to a U.S. report that emphasizes the need for plans that ensure
residents are moved to safety.
Of 117 deaths caused by the October storm, 40 were from drowning, the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today in a report. Flooded
homes in New York City accounted for almost half the drownings. New York
state was the hardest hit by Sandy, with 53 deaths from all causes, followed
by New Jersey with 34 and Pennsylvania with 12, the CDC said.
Sandy hit the New York and New Jersey coastlines on Oct. 29 and within 48
hours the region had six to 12 inches of precipitation, as many as 8 million
people without power and 20,000 people in shelters, the CDC said. Emergency
plans need to make sure evacuation messages are clear and residents are able
to leave, according to the report.
“Hurricane-related drowning deaths in evacuation zones are preventable,” the
CDC said. “A successful evacuation depends on officials providing timely
messaging to all affected persons, on persons receiving those messages, and
on persons having the capacity, resources, and willingness to leave.”
Of the 40 drowning deaths, 21 were in people’s homes, 11 were outside, one
was in a commercial building and another person drowned while intentionally
swimming off a storm-affected beach, according to the report.
The number of deaths attributed to the storm were compiled from American Red
Cross reports, the CDC said. The American Red Cross notes listed reasons for
not evacuating by 20 people who died in flooded homes in or near New York
City’s Evacuation Zone A, including a fear of looters, lack of
transportation, and disbelief in the intensity of the storm after a previous
one turned out to be mild.
While drowning also was the leading cause of death for Hurricane Katrina in
the Gulf Coast in 2005, that has not been the usual case in recent decades,
the CDC said. Trauma was the leading cause of deaths for Florida hurricanes
Visit Bloomberg for the article.
appear associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events
A study of older patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
suggests that new use of the long-acting bronchodilators β-agonists and
anticholinergics was associated with similar increased risks of
cardiovascular events, according to a study published Online First by
JAMA Internal Medicine.
COPD affects more than 1 in 4 Americans older than 35 years of age and is
the third leading cause of death in the United States. Medications are a
mainstay of management of the disease. While there is little controversy
about the effectiveness of long-acting β-agonists (LABAs) and long-acting
anticholinergics (LAAs), their cardiovascular safety remains a matter of
debate, according to the study background.
Andrea Gershon, M.D., M.S., of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative
Sciences, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues conducted a nested case control
analysis of a retrospective cohort study and compared the risk of
cardiovascular events between patients newly prescribed the inhaled
The study used healthcare databases from Ontario and included all
individuals 66 years or older with a diagnosis of COPD who were treated from
September 2003 through March 2009.
Of 191,005 eligible patients, 53,532 (28 percent) had a hospitalization or
an emergency department visit for a cardiovascular event. According to the
results, newly prescribed long-acting inhaled bronchodilators β-agonists and
anticholinergics were associated with higher risk of a cardiovascular event
compared with nonuse of those medications (respective adjusted odds ratios,
1.31 and 1.14). The results also indicate there was no significant
difference in events between the two medications.
"Among older individuals with COPD, new use of long-acting β-agonists and
anticholinergics is associated with similar increased risks of
cardiovascular events. Close monitoring of COPD patients requiring
long-acting bronchodilators is needed regardless of drug class," the study
Visit EurekAlert for the article.
technology platform to diagnose early lung cancer part of new guidelines of
American College Of Chest Physicians
Covidien announced that its superDimension Electromagnetic Navigation
Bronchoscopy (ENB) system, the first technology of its kind, is included in
the new American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) guidelines to aid in
diagnosing and managing lung cancer. The evidence-based clinical practice
guidelines were released by the ACCP earlier this month.
Lung cancer is the deadliest form of cancer in the U.S., causing more deaths
among men and women than any other type of cancer. In its early stages, lung
cancer presents few, if any, symptoms. As a result, the vast majority of
lung cancer patients are diagnosed in the late stages, when there is minimal
chance for a cure. With early detection, however, an estimated 85 percent of
lung cancer cases can be diagnosed in the earliest, more curable stage.
Early detection and immediate treatment can dramatically increase the
typical long-term survival rate from 15 percent at 5 years to 88 percent at
“Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy has over eight years of clinical
use in the United States,” said David S. Wilson, MD, FCCP, Medical Director,
The Lung Institute at Columbus Regional Health. “The diagnosis of lung
cancer guidelines from the American College of Chest Physicians, which
specifically state the increased yields of ENB and historic safety of
bronchoscopy, make ENB a preferred diagnostic procedure for lung cancer.
ENB has become a platform technology for further diagnostics and
therapeutics in the lung periphery. Guideline status marks a new era of
bronchoscopy made possible by ENB.”
Through proprietary software and electromagnetic technology, the
superDimension ENB system uses the natural airway access of the lungs to
safely locate and more easily obtain a tissue sample of a lesion, even in
the areas of the lung that are difficult to reach and where two-thirds of
all lung lesions cannot be accessed by a traditional bronchoscope. Moreover,
by enabling physicians to perform a tissue biopsy without a scalpel and a
needle aspiration through the chest wall, the ENB system minimizes morbidity
associated with more invasive procedures.
More than 40,000 patients have undergone a superDimension ENB procedure at
over 500 leading medical facilities worldwide. The procedure is most
commonly performed by a specialty physician, such as a pulmonologist or
thoracic surgeon, and is completed in 30-60 minutes. For more information
about the superDimension ENB system, please visit
Specialty solutions shares powerful new cancer-care research at 2013 ASCO
With the cost of cancer care projected to increase to $170 billion by 2020,
many in the healthcare industry are looking for ways to curb that cost curve, while maintaining quality of care for cancer patients and preserving fair
compensation for physicians. New research being featured later this month in
poster presentations and abstracts at the 49th Annual Meeting of the
American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) proves that it is possible to
meet all three of these seemingly contrary goals.
Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst),
one of the largest health insurers in the Mid-Atlantic, recently completed a
series of studies on the effectiveness of the nation’s first clinical
pathways program for oncology, which they jointly launched in 2008.
Physicians within the CareFirst network worked together to develop clinical
pathways – or evidence-based treatment regimens – for the treatment of
breast, lung and colon cancers.
The new research shows that through the use of the Clinical Pathways
program, CareFirst reduced its overall costs for treating breast, lung and
colon cancers by 15 percent. These savings were primarily achieved through a
7 percent decline in emergency room visits, shorter lengths of stay in the
hospital, increased use of generic medications and more appropriate use of
chemotherapy. Although the overall drug spend was reduced, the reimbursement
to physicians increased for both branded and generic drugs, and physicians
received higher reimbursement overall.
The authors of the research contend that payor-physician collaboration was a
significant factor behind the success of this Clinical Pathways program.
“Bruce Feinberg, D.O., vice president and chief medical officer of Cardinal
Health Specialty Solutions, explained that these Clinical Pathways were
created by and for physicians within the CareFirst network, not by an
outside entity. He also asserts that this collaboration was a leading factor
for the program’s high rates of physician participation and 95 percent
pathways rate. For example, participating physicians were less likely to
administer complex chemotherapy in late-line treatment, and when clinical
evidence did not support it. Full abstracts of this research are available
www.abstract.asco.org. To learn more, visit
names scholarship winners
A mother working on a dual major in biomedical equipment technology and
medical imaging technology and a student pursuing his master’s at the
University of Connecticut have been selected as the winners of the AAMI
Foundation’s Michael J. Miller Scholarship for 2013.
Leslie Carroll and Edward Ryan were selected as the scholarship winners
based on their outstanding academic achievements and commitment to the
healthcare technology management (HTM) field. With their personal and
professional credentials, they stood out from the talented pool of
Carroll, a mother of four daughters, currently is enrolled at the Texas
State Technical College. After working as a customer service professional
outside healthcare, she discovered the HTM field after reviewing a list of
potential majors and finding herself intrigued by the biomedical equipment
technology field. Her instructors say she’s excelling in her classes,
actively participating in discussions and assisting other students.
Ryan is studying clinical engineering at the University of Connecticut and
interning at Hartford Hospital, where he has worked on a variety of
projects—from centralizing the facility’s telemetry system to replacing a
large portion of the MedSurg bed fleet.
Every year, the AAMI Foundation awards the $2,500 scholarships to students
aspiring to become biomedical equipment technicians and clinical engineers.
These scholarships expand access to students who have demonstrated academic
excellence, technical aptitude, and commitment to the HTM field.
PartsSource and ARAMARK companies contributed $5,000 each to the scholarship
fund. For a complete list of current sponsors, visit
The scholarship program is named in honor of Michael J. Miller—a leader in
the medical technology field who served as AAMI’s president for 40 years
until his retirement in 2009.To learn more about the scholarship, please
technology provides connectivity between diagnostic devices and EMR
Welch Allyn, has been working with Epic to connect several of its vital
signs devices, monitors and ECG units to Epic’s Electronic Medical Records (EMR)
system to help eliminate the need for manual data entry by providers,
increase efficiency and alleviate the risk of transcription and latency
errors. By establishing connectivity between Welch Allyn devices and the EMR,
clinicians are able to transfer patient test results directly between
diagnostic devices and the EMR— resulting in immediate access to accurate
patient data and improved workflow.
Studies on manual vitals documentation have shown that 4,000 omission and/or
transcription errors can occur per year for a 100-bed facility (of which
about 80% are lower acuity floors); 3,200 hours were wasted with manual
vital sign documentation; and more than $100,000 was lost in productivity
due to lack of access to vitals. The availability of an automated system
that captures and wirelessly transmits patient data helps eliminate these
issues. Providers can visit
www.welchallyn.com/connex to calculate a cost estimate using the Welch
Allyn Connex Vital Signs Documentation Value Analyzer tool.
Visit Welch Allyn for more information.
Day from our entire staff at HPN
Healthcare Purchasing News
wishes you and your families and friends a wonderful and healthy Memorial
The HPN's Daily Update will be back on Tuesday, May 28.