Infection rates drop at Legacy

Legacy Health of Portland implemented a new initiative two years ago with the aim of lowering infection rates and patient deaths, and it looks like they have succeeded. According to an article in the Oregonian, infection rates have dropped by about 45 percent, and patient deaths declined about 14 percent over the past two years. The iniative, labeled “Big Aims,” was undertaken at six hospitals and involved all employees, from housekeepers to doctors.Staff members were instructed to follow safety checklists.

In addition to saving lives (hospital officials believe some 200 patients would have died in the two years if practices hadn’t been changed), Big Aims saved money–more than $13 million (apparently treating hospital infections is quite costly). Many hospitals only quantify the number of infections in intensive care units, but Legacy measured the infections in all departments.

There is still much work to be done, of course, to ensure patient safety, but it’s good to see that some hospitals are making an effort and saving lives. For more on this story, see this article.