E-Mail Communications Significantly Cut Hospital Superbug Rate

April 30, 2014 in News

A weekly “email intervention” helped a Florida hospital cut rates of a superbug infection by more than half, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Infection Control, FierceHealthcare reports.

Study Details

For the study, researchers examined rates of a superbug called Acinetobacter baumannii from January 2010 through June 2013. According to FierceHealthcare, the 1,500-bed hospital had reported endemic rates of the superbug for nearly two decades prior to the email intervention.

According to the study, the weekly email to hospital leaders included infection control data, such as the number and placement of new infections, and provided “action plans” designed to improve infection control.

Those action plans included:

  • Hand-hygiene interventions;
  • Isolating patients infected with the superbug;
  • Monthly, multidisciplinary meetings on how to implement the new initiatives;
  • Screening ICU patients on admission and once-per-week after admission;
  • Observing how shared objects were transferred between patients; and
  • Weekly testing to determine the cleanliness of hospital surfaces.

Study Findings

The researchers found that after a hospital official began sending the weekly, mass-emails to hospital leaders, transmission rates fell by 63%. Specifically, rates of infection declined from 5.13 per 10,000 patient days in 2010-2011 to 1.93 in 2012-2013. 

Study author Silvia Munoz-Price of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and her colleagues said the study is the first “to examine the effect of mass electronic dissemination of results from a bundle of interventions.”

They added that the weekly emails were correlated “with a striking decrease in the rate of new acquisitions of A. baumannii at our institution probably because of a combination of education, communication, feedback and peer pressure” (Budryk, FierceHealthcare, 4/28).

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