But take a look anyway, if you have an interest in process improvement in hospitals. This is a collection of my best posts on this topic.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Better grades on VAP

Good progress on implementing steps to reduce ventilator-associated pneumonia. Recall my story in January on this topic.

Our goal is to make sure we are carrying out the five-part Institute for Healthcare Improvement "bundle" to reduce the incidence of this disease. As I noted back then, if you want to reduce VAP, you institute this bundle of steps. But, like your toughest sixth grade teacher would say, "There is no partial credit!" Unless you carry out all five steps, you do not get a perfect score. Here are the monthly stats:

April 06: 83%
May 06: 74%
June 06: 82%
July 06: 80%
August 06: 76%
September 06: 86%
October 06: 92%
November 06: 85%
December 06: 87%
January 07: 93%
February 07: 98%
March 07: 100% (to date)

In addition, our folks are working on instituting improved oral hygiene for these patients, another aspect of reducing the VAP problem. There we have gone from 58% (in April 06) to 91% (in March 07).

But, I want to make clear that these are process metrics. This differs from the central line infection story I have mentioned elsewhere, where we measure the actual number of cases. My folks tell me that actual VAP rates themselves may not be accurate because it is the most subjective of all nosocomial infections and the most difficult to track. We are currently engaged in refining our methodology for actual VAP surveillance.

Finally, I want to point out that this effort requires a variety of specialties to work together -- several types of doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, and pharmacists. In this case, 14 people serve in the VAP Working Group. They develop protocols, data monitoring, and training programs and then have to persuade dozens of other people to engage in the program on a sustained basis. As I have noted below, the unique environment of academic medical centers creates interesting challenges in process improvement. These folks deserve a lot of credit for what they have accomplished, but the real test will be to see if they can keep it going. Knowing the people involved, I am optimistic.

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