Penn Highlands DuBois Healthcare-Acquired Infection Rate Among the Lowest in the State

July 11, 2014

Penn Highlands DuBois was extremely pleased with a recently released state Department of Health report verifying that a low number of infections occurred related to the care provided at the hospital.

The state Department of Health’s 2012 Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) Report shows that Pennsylvania hospitals have made significant progress in reducing these medical complications while reducing healthcare costs that would have been associated with infections.

Healthcare-associated infections are infections that patients develop during the course of receiving healthcare treatment for other conditions while in the hospital. One of the most common fears patients have about coming to the hospital is developing an infection. Penn Highland DuBois’ effort to eliminate hospital-associated infection aligns with its commitment to minimize fear and enhance the patient experience.

According to Gary DuGan, M.D., CMO, Penn Highlands Healthcare, Penn Highlands DuBois continues to demonstrate an overall lower rate of healthcare-associated infection than is the average for Pennsylvania hospitals. 

During the study year of the report (2012), Penn Highlands DuBois hospital-associated infections (HAI) in the categories of central line bloodstream infection, catheter-associated urinary tract infection and surgical site infections related to heart, knee and hip surgeries, were either zero, or well below the predicted number of infections for a hospital of the hospital’s size and acuity.

DuGan credited the hospital’s infection prevention team, performance improvement team, physicians, nurses and support staff for their emphasis on performance improvement.    

“High quality care is the top priority for us, and even one healthcare-associated infection is one too many. We are proud of the progress we’ve made and will continue to build on our success in order to provide a superior standard of care for our patients,” he said.   

Kathy Lemmon, RN, director of infection prevention, pointed out that since the 2012 report, hospital-associated infections at Penn Highlands DuBois have dropped even further. Introduction and consistent use of evidence-based guidelines have dramatically improved the consistent, high-quality care our patients receive. Utilization of tools such as the central line, foley-catheter and ventilator “bundles” have nearly eradicated infections related to these devices. 

“Quality, safety and efficiency are more important than ever in health care. Penn Highlands DuBois is well positioned for success in each of these areas. I commend our physicians, nurses and staff for their commitment to advancing quality of care and patient safety,” stated DuGan.

Two other hospitals in the Penn Highlands Healthcare system, Penn Highlands Elk and Penn Highlands Clearfield, also fared well in the report. The fourth hospital, Penn Highlands Brookville, was not included in the study due to its designation as a critical access hospital, but also has low healthcare-associated infection rates.

To review: 2012 Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Healthcare-Associated Infection Report