A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that hospitals are making headway in reducing patient infection rates.

CDC Infection Findings

Since 2008, infection rates have dropped in a number of categories. Central line-associated infections dropped by 41 percent, and these gains in prevention were particularly strongly represented in intensive care and neonatal intensive care units. Surgical site infections are down 17 percent, and catheter-related urinary tract infections are down 7 percent from 2009 numbers.

CUSP and Mitigated Infection Risk

Much of the drop-off in infections can be specifically attributed to the implementation of the Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program, or CUSP. CUSP makes use of a number of methods to address infections, especially in the case of newborns. These include encouraging caregivers to consider central line removal at specific benchmarks and taking closer notes of catheter need and usage. Additionally, front-line caregivers are provided with greater space in which to express their opinion as to potential improvements to infection prevention efforts.

Hospitals which made use of CUSP saw significant reductions in infection rates. In a year-long survey of 100 hospitals across nine states which made use of CUSP initiatives, newborn central-line infections were cut by 58 percent. But CUSP was also instrumental in lowering adult infection rates as well – over a four year period, infections rates dropped 40 percent at hospitals which made use of CUSP protocols.

By applying CUSP methods, hospitals are saving lives. But they are also lowering health costs. It’s estimated that the Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program’s efforts to limit infection alongside other proactive initiatives have resulted in a $34 million reduction in health care costs. Although the CUSP program specifically came with a $900 thousand price-tag, it has single-handedly been responsible for $2 million in avoided infection-related expenditures.

These recent, lower infection numbers are encouraging news for health professionals of all stripes, and no doubt bode well for further development of initiatives in the same vein as CUSP.