PHILADELPHIA — A Penn Medicine team led by Craig Umscheid, MD, MSCE, FACP, assistant professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and director of the Center for Evidence-based Practice, was awarded by the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council and the Health Care Improvement Foundation with the first place 2012 Delaware Valley Patient Safety Award. The honor, which comes with a $5,000 grant, recognizes the group’s work in leveraging information technology to decrease catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) using actionable alerts linked to the electronic health record.

CAUTIs are the most common type of healthcare-associated infection.  As much as 70 percent of CAUTIs may be preventable with recommended infection control measures; resulting in as many as 380,000 fewer infections and preventing as many as 9,000 deaths each year.  To help eliminate these infections, the Penn Medicine Center for Evidence-based Practice (CEP) worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to revise the national guidelines on preventing CAUTIs. Then, leaders from Nursing, Infection Control, Quality and Safety, and Information Technology at Penn Medicine collaborated with CEP to integrate the guidelines into computerized clinical decision support to reduce CAUTIs locally.

Over about a year of using this system, the group found that the intervention helped physicians decide whether their patients needed urinary catheters, and alerted physicians when catheters needed to be removed (reducing the days they were used overall).

The life-saving technology, together with other health system interventions, reduced CAUTIs by about 50 percent over about one year.

Estimates suggest this effort also led to an estimated financial savings of approximately $140,000 annually.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.

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