Tackling the CAUTI Problem

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the fourth most common type of healthcare-associated infection, with an estimated 93,300 UTIs having occurred during acute care hospitals in 2011. Virtually all healthcare-associated UTIs are caused by instrumentation of the urinary tract—in other words, by insertion of a catheter—and an estimated 13,000 deaths per year are associated with catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI).

Hospitals across the United States have made the elimination of CAUTI a top quality and safety priority, and a report from HonorHealth in Scottsdale, AZ, provides details on how one healthcare system designed a bundle of quality initiatives with the goal of completely eliminating CAUTI.

The initiatives included education, mandatory prompts and reminders in the electronic medical record, daily patient tracking, a resident quality champion, and a urine retention protocol.

While infections were not completely eliminated, the number of urinary catheter insertions in the emergency department was dramatically decreased, leading to an important reduction in total catheter days and a consequent reduction in CAUTI. Complete results are presented in “A Multidisciplinary Intervention to Prevent Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections Using Education, Continuum of Care, and Systemwide Buy-In.”

HonorHealth’s CAUTI project was an Alliance of Independent Academic Medical Centers National Initiative IV (NI IV) project. To see the other quality projects completed as part of NI IV, click to the Ochsner Journal special issue published in spring 2016.

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