Citing the human and economic toll of central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs)—$1 billion a year, with a mortality rate as high as 25 percent in the U.S. alone—the Joint Commission has organized a two-phase project to help healthcare providers globally live out the truism that the safest care is often the most cost-effective care.
The Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based organization rolled out the first phase of the project in the form of a new monograph May 16, stating that phase two will draw from the 123-page publication to develop a toolkit of interventions, guidelines and resources designed to cut global CLABSI rates.
In introducing the monograph, the Joint Commission (JC) pointed out that no device poses greater risk for bloodstream infection than the central venous catheter (CVC), or “central line,” and that nearly 3 million of these are inserted in U.S. patients each year. It cited recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating the cost of CLABSI at $16,000 per case. “The risk ... is even greater in developing countries, where the rates of HAIs related to devices are, in most cases, three to five times greater,” said the JC.
The monograph zeroes in on central lines—non-tunneled CVCs, tunneled CVCs, implantable ports and peripherally inserted central catheters—leaving peripheral and arterial lines for another time as it aims to highlight “evidence-based practices known to help prevent CLABSI.”
The JC said its intended audience is healthcare personnel who insert and care for intravascular catheters and who are responsible for the surveillance, prevention and control of infections.
In a chapter addressing CLABSIs’ economic aspects, the publication presents approaches for creating a compelling business case for preventing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).
“Lack of financial resources is easily cited as a reason (or excuse) for not establishing an infection prevention and control program, so it is important that the economic costs of doing nothing be well communicated to leaders and key decision makers,” the monograph reads. “This can be accomplished by illustrating the economic impact of infection prevention and control programs on HAI prevention. Infection can be identified as an avoidable cost to the organization and infection prevention and control programs as an investment rather than an expense. It is possible to demonstrate the business case for these programs in any country—including those in resource-constrained areas of the world.”
The JC said it produced the publication by collaborating with numerous infection control-minded organizations and associations in the U.S., including its own affiliates and the National Institutes of Health, along with infection prevention leaders from such countries as Argentina, Australia, Egypt, Switzerland, Thailand and Saudi Arabia.
The organization gave no date for the rollout of phase two of the full project, which it said is supported by a research grant from Baxter.
The monograph, “Preventing Central Line-Associated Infections: A Global Challenge, A Global Perspective,” is available for free online downloading.