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Infection Control

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Patient Story


At PinnacleHealth, we are committed to patient safety and infection prevention. 

Key Achievements:

  • The 2012 Pennsylvania Department of Health report reaffirmed PinnacleHealth’s leadership among state hospitals in low infection rates. In multiple categories, our infection rates were lower than the Department of Health predicted for a hospital of PinnacleHealth’s size and scope, and significantly lower than expected in some areas.

  • PinnacleHealth won the 2012 VHA APEX award for low incidence of central line–associated bloodstream infections.

  • We are recognized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for having a statistically lower rate of central line–associated bloodstream infections compared to the national rate.

  • Our infection rates for all surgeries as reported to the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) database are within or lower than the national comparison range.

  • We have had a significant impact on sepsis patient outcomes as published in the May 2012 edition of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Key Initiatives:

Hand-Washing. At PinnacleHealth, hand-washing is a priority. We educate our staff about when and how to wash their hands. Staff members and physicians are secretly observed to see if they are washing their hands when providing patient care. In 2013, there were over 3,500 hand-washing observations performed with a result of 98 percent compliance with hospital hand-washing requirements.
Staff Education. Our interventions have focused on educational programs for physicians, nurses and other clinical staff, utilizing guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and best-practice recommendations by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).
Management of Multidrug-Resistant Organisms (MDROs). PinnacleHealth has a consistently low rate of hospital-associated MDROs. Examples of MDROs are methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase or KPC-producing organisms, extended-spectrum beta-lactamase or ESBL-producing organisms, and Clostridium difficile
We follow the guidelines in the CDC publication “Management of Multidrug-Resistant Organisms in Healthcare Settings.” Patients who have an MDRO are placed in contact precautions. This means that staff and visitors will wear gowns and gloves when going into the patient’s room, and in most cases the patient will have a private room.
Surgical Site Infection Reduction. In order to prevent surgical site infections, PinnacleHealth follows the CDC “Guideline for Prevention of Surgical Site Infection” publication and the Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) guidelines
Recommendations include:

  • Giving preoperative antibiotics within the designated timeframe before surgery begins. Preoperative antibiotics are selected based on the current recommended guidelines. PinnacleHealth patients received the recommended preoperative antibiotic 98 percent of the time. 
  • Discontinuing prophylatic antibiotics at the right time.

You can refer to the following Patient Education sheets for more information:

 Click here to view infection quality data.