Sunday, September 16, 2012

AHRQ's Project Reduces CLABSIs

A nationwide patient safety project funded by AHRQ is reducing the rate of Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections (CLABSI) in intensive care units by 40 percent. This is according to the agency’s preliminary findings in the largest national effort to combat CLABSIs to date. 

The project used the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) to achieve the landmark results that is preventing more than 2.000 CLABSIs, saving more than 500 lives, and avoiding more than $34 million in healthcare costs.

CUSP was created by a team led by Peter J. Pronovost, M.D., PhD senior Vice President for Patient Safety and Quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Dr. Pronovost and partners from the American Hospital Association (AHA) discussed these findings at the AHRQ Annual Conference in Bethesda Maryland held September 9-11, 2012.

The CUSP is a customizable program that helps hospital units address how clinical teams can care for patients. It combines clinical best practices with an understanding of the science of safety, improved safety culture, and an increases focus on teamwork.

Based on the experiences gained in this project, the CUSP toolkit helps doctors, nurses, and other members of the clinical team learn how to identify safety problems and use the tools to tackle the problems that threaten the safety of their patients. It includes teaching tools and resources to support implementation at the unit level.

The first broad scale application of CUSP was in Michigan under the leadership of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association where it was used to significantly reduce CLABSIs in that state. Following that success, CUSP was expanded to ten states and then nationally through an AHRQ contract that was awarded to the Health Research & Educational Trust which is the research arm of the American Hospital Association.

Details about CUSP are available at and the CUSP toolkit is available at