University of Missouri Health Care uses EHRs to reduce CAUTIs

A nurse at the University of Missouri Health System is leading an initiative to use EHRs to reduce the number of catheter-associated urinary tract infections in its facilities.

Eileen Phillips, RN, who has worked at MU Health Care for 23 years, is in charge of infection surveillance, education and quality improvement in the Columbia, Mo.-based health system. She and a team of nurses reviewed literature on infections and developed a list of appropriate indications for catheter use, adding a step in the system's EHR requiring nurses to document the reasons for the catheter use, according to a blog post on Cerner's website.

CAUTIs are attributed to between 30 and 40 percent of all healthcare-acquired infections, and the team was ultimately able to reduce the hospital's infection rate by 25 percent, according the blog post.

The team also introduced education methods, including web-based modules, posters, staff meetings and an internal communications campaign. The team sent emails to nurses the nurses' managers and the nurse directors highlighting positive behavior when they appropriately discontinued catheter use on a patient, rewarding the behavior with a coupon. They also created notifications within the patient access lists to mark patients with catheters that were being discontinued, according to the blog post.

"This could not have occurred without first reducing our utilization, which is why the EHR task has helped so much," Ms. Phillips said in the blog post. "In 2013, our catheter utilization was 33 percent, and in 2014, utilization decreased to 25 percent, which is a 24 percent overall decrease. I am really happy with the progress we have made so far."

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