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New Mexico's Department of Health studying hospital-contracted infections

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New Mexico Daily News: Six hospitals in New Mexico are participating in the state Department of Health’s healthcare-associated infection pilot project.
The hospitals will report data about healthcare-associated infections to the department, with the goal being reduction of healthcare-associated infections and their adverse effects on patients. The project is the result of a study the department completed in November 2007, which laid the project’s groundwork.

The six hospitals began reporting “central-line associated” bloodstream infections in July. Those are infections resulting from having an intravenous catheter and that can lead to bacteria invading a patient’s bloodstream if the IV is not managed properly. The facilities also will report influenza vaccination rates of their health care workers during the upcoming flu season.

The Department of Health is collecting data applying to different kinds and sizes of hospitals, reporting the information through the National Healthcare Safety Network, which is a secure, Internet-based surveillance system managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Data will remain confidential during the pilot year of the program, as the advisory committee determines the best way to interpret the information and provide the data to the public in an understandable and useful manner. At the same time the National Healthcare Safety Network will provide the six hospitals with information to improve their surveillance of the infections, and to prevent them.

After the year-long pilot program, the advisory committee recommend how to get the best information for public reporting purposes, consider how to expand the program and determine when to add more reporting measures.

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