AHRQ Toolkit Helped NorthShore Health Track Data to Keep Infection Rates Low
Chicago’s NorthShore University Health System was on a mission to maintain low rates of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI). Then NorthShore infection preventionist Mona Shah, M.P.H., C.I.C., learned of AHRQ’s Toolkit for Reducing CAUTI in Hospitals from an email from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), a stakeholder group that was co-promoting the CAUTI resources with AHRQ.
Shah combed through the toolkit and seized on the device risk checklist as a tool that could provide immediate value to NorthShore’s CAUTI prevention efforts.
One way Shah had been working to address CAUTI was by reducing the use of indwelling urinary catheters in the first place. Shah reviewed urine culture orders and canceled orders for catheters that did not meet criteria requiring the use of one. “By eliminating a number of unnecessary catheters, we had already seen a major decrease in the number of CAUTI cases,” Shah said, noting that CAUTI cases had dropped from 43 in 2012 to 7 in 2015.
Now the goal was to keep the infection rate low. Shah saw an opportunity to customize the AHRQ toolkit’s device risk checklist to account for a number of variables that could identify patterns that led to CAUTIs in patients who needed a catheter. The modified checklist, consisting of 46 data measures for each patient, allows Shah to keep track of all relevant data in a central location.
“I love that document. It gives me all the variables in one place, and in many cases allows me to determine whether a CAUTI could be preventable,” Shah said.