Maryland, trying to combat one of the highest growth rates of bloodstream infections in the country, is joining the national effort to curb the problem by adopting a prevention program created by a Johns Hopkins doctor. Forty-four Maryland hospitals recently announced they will institute measures developed by Hopkins critical-care doctor Peter J. Pronovost. His highly recognized approach has helped decrease infections in other states.Pronovost and his team created the program nearly nine years ago that calls for simple steps to curb blood infections - usually associated with catheters. The steps call for things such as thoroughly washing hands, using certain cleaners to swab an area before inserting a catheter and making sure the catheter is inserted correctly. Pronovost's approach also calls for aggressive reporting standards and taking steps to change the culture at hospitals that influences the way employees look at infections. The program is reaching new milestones, with 30 states signing on to institute the measures created by Pronovost. This summer. federal health officials made it a goal to reduce bloodstream infections by 50 percent in the next three years. "What is novel now is we are putting it in across the country," Pronovost said in a telephone interview. "It's the first quantitative outcome goal for quality and safety that the country has ever made. We have never really committed to something measureable until now."
KENNETH K. LAM, Baltimore Sun