Patients at Washington hospitals now have a new tool for evaluating quality of care, with a database tracking information about surgical infection rates unveiled Tuesday
The Washington State Hospital Association released the data, which was compiled in response to legislation passed in 2007 and 2010.
"Washington's hospitals are enthusiastic participants in providing this new information about surgical infection rates," said Carol Wagner, the association's vice president for patient safety.
The database is online at www.wahospitalquality.org, and includes information about infection rates for heart surgeries, heart transplants, knee and hip replacements and hysterectomies.
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The database tracks infection rates reported by hospitals to the federal Centers for Disease Control for ventilator pneumonia infections and central line infections.
In the Tri-Cities, Kennewick General Hospital reported no ventilator or central line infections, while Kadlec Regional Medical Center reported rates of 1.21 ventilator infections per 1,000 patients and 0.33 central line infections per 1,000 patients.
The national average for ventilator infections is 1.9 per 1,000 patients, and the average is 1.5 per 1,000 patients for central line infections. The state averages are 0.7 and0.76 respectively.
The infection rates for Lourdes were not included in the association's data set.
The database also provides statistics for infection prevention measures, such as whether a patient received antibiotics before surgery and received the correct antibiotics.
Kadlec's numbers for infection prevention were onpar with or better than state and national averages, while KGH and Lourdes lagged slightly behind in some areas.
But officials from Kadlec and Lourdes noted the data is six months to one year old, and said they expect to see better numbers when the next set is released.
Becky Fuller, patient safety officer for Kadlec, said the Richland hospital uses a rigorous process to prevent infections.
"We have a team who works diligently to ensure patients get the best care they expect when they come in," Fuller said. "We are proud of our results."
Janet Wright, vice president for patient care services at Lourdes, said the Pasco hospital has made strides in the timing of antibiotics and making sure patients get the correct antibiotics before surgery to prevent infections.
"We're always interested in improving our care and making a safer environment," Wright said. "We work on that on a regular basis."
Lourdes gave patients the correct antibiotic 99 percent of the time, according to the hospital association. The national average is 95 percent, and the state average is 98 percent.
Kadlec patients received the correct antibiotic 98 percent of the time. For KGH, that number was 91 percent.
Representatives for KGH did not immediately respond to an interview request.
Fuller said preventing infections is important because it reduces the chance patients will become sicker or die while in the hospital.
"In most cases, it is something we can prevent with the appropriate interventions," she said.
-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; firstname.lastname@example.org