The report provides hospital-specific information on four categories of health-care associated infections. In all but one of the categories, Alabama’s hospitals performed better than the national average. The only category in which the state average was similar to the national average was catheter-associated urinary tract infections. These good scores didn’t happen by chance.
For the past 10 years, Alabama’s hospitals helped pioneer an automated infection-surveillance system that now monitors key data on approximately 80 percent of all hospital patients. It has significantly improved our infection-prevention initiatives, and in the past year alone is estimated to have prevented 1,200 infections and saved $5 million. For the last two years, two-thirds of our hospitals have participated in a national initiative to reduce blood stream infections in intensive care units. Alabama had the second highest rate of participation in the nation and was able to decrease infections by 53 percent over the two-year period.
The news gets better. Alabama’s hospitals were recently ranked No. 1 in the nation on their overall performance and improvement on the quality measures endorsed by the federal government. While we are extremely proud of the work we’ve done, we are not resting on our laurels. Our staff and physicians understand that improving patient care is a never-ending task. In fact, we consider it an ongoing journey and are launching a statewide campaign to help hospitals focus on this journey and to invite patients and their families to join us.
It’s been proven numerous times that the more a patient is involved in his or her care, the better the outcome. Therefore, we’ve created a new website, www.jointhehealthjourney.com, to provide information to patients, families and the general public and to share some of the important work being done by our hospitals. We hope many will join us on this important journey to save lives and to improve the quality of life for all Alabamians.
Chairman, Alabama Hospital Association