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Hospitals use IT to get tough on infections

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South Carolina’s 65 acute care hospitals are banding together to prevent healthcare-acquired infections across the state. The effort is expected to save hundreds of lives and as much USD 40 million a year. Key to the effort is the use of an automated infection-monitoring tool developed by the Premier healthcare alliance. Premier will also develop an information-sharing portal to support the initiative. Health Sciences South Carolina, the South Carolina Hospital Association and the Premier healthcare alliance announced Wednesday the formation of the South Carolina Healthcare Quality Trust (SC HQT). The trust includes the state’s largest research universities – Clemson University, Medical University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina. It also includes the state’s largest health systems – Greenville Hospital System, Palmetto Health and Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. All of them will work with Health Sciences South Carolina to adopt existing evidence-based best practices, as well as research and develop new methods, to eliminate preventable infections. “We all know someone whose life has been altered, sometimes permanently, by a preventable healthcare-associated infection,” said Jay Moskowitz, president and CEO of Health Sciences South Carolina. “South Carolina believes it is time for change. Through this collaborative, we will use our state’s best researchers to determine the causes of specific infections. We will test the solutions in our state’s four largest health systems, which today treat about 30 percent of all patients, and share the best practices, products and services that result with all 65 of the state’s acute care hospitals.” The Premier portal will play a key role making it possible for all South Carolina hospitals to research the causes of healthcare-acquired infections, or HAIs, and to identify and promote existing and new processes for prevention. Hospitals will be able to track their improvement against state and national benchmarks via the Performance Improvement Portal, Premier’s knowledge exchange community of more than 1,500 healthcare experts nationwide, to develop and share best practices and knowledge on effective strategies for combating HAIs. “By measuring performance against state and national benchmarks, the SC HQT will work to become a national model for healthcare quality improvement that every state can utilize to efficiently focus resources and improve the health of their communities,” said Premier Chief Operating Officer Susan DeVore. Sixteen South Carolina hospitals representing approximately half of the state’s discharges are currently using Premier’s SafetySurveillor, and will share their successes as a part of the SC HQT. The trust will also will benefit from the use of Premier’s SafetySurveillor automated infection surveillance tool to prevent HAIs and optimize antibiotic use, protecting patients and reducing hospital costs. The technology also helps hospitals meet state-mandated public reporting of certain HAIs, including screening for MRSA and C Diff.

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