Newswise — Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) is the first health system in the nation to receive the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) Program of Distinction designation, an acknowledgement of excellence for infection prevention and control programs that meet stringent standards established by the association.
The designation is the culmination of an intensive review by an APIC survey team that visited to evaluate infection prevention practices at Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and numerous off-site locations.
APIC is the leading professional association for infection preventionists (IPs) in the country, with more than 15,000 members. APIC’s Program of Distinction designation measures excellence in infection prevention policies and procedures, ongoing quality improvement efforts and compliance with federal regulations.
“We are happy to award the first APIC Program of Distinction designation to Vanderbilt University Medical Center,” said APIC CEO Katrina Crist, MBA, CAE. “Their program embodies the standards of excellence that we envisioned when we created this program. We congratulate them on their superior efforts to protect patients and prevent infection.”
“We’re honored to be the first institution in the country to receive this designation,” said Thomas Talbot, MD, MPH, chief hospital epidemiologist at VUMC. “Something key that the surveyors cited was that it is not just the infection prevention team that contributes to the effectiveness of our infection prevention programs.
“They saw that the commitment to infection prevention permeates the institution, throughout all levels, from leadership to the front line. This achievement validates our institution-wide dedication to patient safety, our collaboration and teamwork, and every individual’s effort in implementing and consistently following best practices to prevent healthcare-associated infections.”
“This award represents many years of focused effort in infection prevention, and it is a distinction of our great VUMC team,” said Gerald Hickson, MD, senior vice president for Quality, Safety and Risk Prevention. “To achieve this recognition, our programs were examined closely by national leaders in infection control. We were found to have exemplary programs, beginning with every team member’s commitment to washing their hands.”
During the review, the Infection Prevention team provided data on VUMC’s healthcare-associated infection (HAI) rates, and across the board the numbers were positive, Talbot said. For example, from 2009 to 2017 (estimated with six months of data in 2017), central line associated blood stream infections (CLABSI) in intensive care units (ICU) were reduced by 79 percent, and non-ICU CLABSIs were reduced by 71 percent. From 2010 until 2017, there was an estimated 61 percent increase in the healthcare worker influenza vaccination rate. From 2009 until 2017, there was an estimated 81 percent increase in hand-hygiene compliance.
“This review process has been important, not only for our team, to confirm that they’re doing great work, but also within the institution, to reaffirm strong, collaborative relationships with other teams like environmental services, facilities management, and environmental health and safety,” said director of Infection Prevention Vicki Brinsko, MSN, RN. “We work closely together every day, and this is an outside agency coming in, looking at how we do things and saying, ‘Thumbs up!’”
In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released results from its Healthcare-associated Infection (HAI) Prevalence Survey. On any given day, one in 25 hospital patients has at least one HAI. In 2011, there were an estimated 722,000 HAIs in U.S acute-care hospitals, and about 75,000 patients with HAIs died during their hospitalizations.
The APIC Program of Distinction designation has been awarded to VUMC for a three-year period, after which the Medical Center can repeat the review process.