Major C. diff hospital collaboration reduces infections by 36 percent

A collaboration between four New York state hospitals aimed at reducing Clostridium difficile infections resulted in a 36 percent drop in rates of the common hospital-acquired infection in September 2015, compared with 2011 levels, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The four hospitals, which are now a part of two healthcare systems — the University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Regional Health System — had been struggling to combat the infections on their own. Additionally, they realized they were trying to eliminate C. diff in the same patient population — patients discharged from one of their facilities would often be admitted to another.

To tackle the problem, the four hospitals began by evaluating cleaning protocols, including retraining staff on hand hygiene and implementing thorough inspections of cleaned rooms. Hospitals in the collaboration shared strategies as they determined their efficacy through trial and error. One institution found that after C. diff patients were discharged, it took twice as long as previously thought to properly clean and disinfect their rooms, a practice later adopted by the other hospitals.

Later components of the collaboration included implementing policies for limiting use of broad-spectrum antibiotics that can create an environment where C. diff can flourish and publishing new guidelines for determining which patients are likely more susceptible to infections.

Currently, physicians involved in the collaboration are working to expand their best practices to clinics and offices external to the hospitals while continuing to monitor their own infection data, according to WSJ.

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