Sunday, October 25, 2009

$17 Million to Fight HAIs

AHRQ has just awarded $17 million including $8 million to fund a national expansion of the Keystone Project. The Keystone Project has successfully reduced the rate of central-line blood stream infections in more than 100 Michigan intensive care units and also saved 1,500 lives and $200 million within just 18 months.

The project was originally started by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the Michigan Health & Hospital Association to implement a comprehensive unit-based safety program. The program uses a checklist of evidence-based safety practices, staff training, and other tools for preventing infections that can be implemented in hospital units to consistently measure infection rates and provide the tools needed to improve teamwork among doctors, nurses, and hospital leaders.

Last year, AHRQ funded an expansion of this project to include 10 states. With the additional AHRQ funding plus additional funding from a private foundation, the Keystone Project is now operating in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

The new funding will expand the effort to more hospitals in 50 states, extend it to other settings in addition to ICUs, and broaden the focus to address other types of infections. Specifically, the finding will provide $6 million to the Health Research & Educational Trust for a national effort to expand the Comprehensive Unit-Based Patient Safety Program to Reduce Central Line-Associated Blood Stream Infections. The Trust will also use $1 million to support a demonstration project to help fight catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

In addition, $1 million will go to Yale University to support a comprehensive plan to prevent bloodstream infections in hemodialysis patients. AHRQ in collaboration with CDC has also identified several high priority areas to apply the remaining $9 million toward reducing MRSA and other types of HAIs.

For more information, go to