MRSA, or Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, is a growing problem
in the United States; as many as 126,000 hospitalizations are related
to infections caused by this germ.
While it is estimated that more than 2 million people carry the MRSA germ
on their skin and the incidence of infections contracted in the community
is also rising, the majority of infections are still healthcare-associated.
The term healthcare-associated refers to those infections that occur as
a result of some kind of contact with a healthcare setting.
Atlantic General Hospital was recently selected to join the Maryland Patient
Safety Center’s MRSA Prevention Initiative, a five-month program
that helps participating hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and dialysis
centers identify and successfully implement new practices to reduce the
spread of MRSA. Through this initiative, the participating healthcare
providers will employ positive difference, a method that encourages the
sharing and adoption of unique infection control practices that staff
members may be using during their daily routine as an extra measure beyond
standard protocol. Positive difference gives a voice to those on the front
lines who are in a position to take note of the potential ways that infection
is being transmitted and come up with effective solutions. According to
a presentation given by Johns Hopkins Hospital, who was among six selected
nationally to first implement positive difference through a Robert Wood
Johnson Foundation grant in 2005, hospitals who have adopted this practice
have been able to reduce MRSA infection rates by 80 percent.
“After attending the executive briefing, which cited many of the
successes nationally, it was very clear to me that AGH needed to be actively
engaged in positive difference,” said Colleen Wareing, vice president
of Patient Care Services. “Our Medical Staff and hospital leadership
agree the investment of resources along with collaboration with our community
partners will lead to a significant reduction in MRSA in our community.”
In mid-November, Atlantic General proceeded with the initiative, one of
several programs the hospital has adopted recently to reduce the potential
spread of infectious diseases and to continually improve patient safety.
In February of 2006, Atlantic General Hospital’s surgical services
department initiated the Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) through
a collaborative with the Delmarva Foundation.
SCIP is a national quality enterprise among hospitals committed to reducing
postoperative complications. Atlantic General Hospital actively supports
this partnership, and the surgical services department currently monitors
and collects data on difficulties related to infections and other post-surgical
complications. The data is then submitted and results are compared nationally.
Inpatient operations account for significant complications in hospitals
across the country, so the scope of this joint venture allows hospitals
to identify peers having similar difficulties and gives them the opportunity
to learn from one another.
“We consistently demonstrate a low surgical infection rate as compared
to national standards,” said Shirley Spirk, director of surgical
services. “Initiatives like SCIP allow us to partner with other
high quality providers to implement best practice and maintain our excellence
into the future.”
Maryland Patient Safety Center The Maryland Patient Safety Center brings
together hospitals and health care providers to improve patient safety
and health care quality for all Marylanders. The goal of the Patient Safety
Center is to make Maryland’s health care the safest in the country.
It is jointly operated by the Maryland Hospital Association and the Delmarva
The Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) is a unique partnership that
is proving to be a transformational undertaking in health care. The SCIP
goal is to reduce the incidence of surgical complications nationally by
25 percent by the year 2010. For more information about SCIP, visit http://www.medqic.org.