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3M Infection Prevention Division

Health Care

3M Provides Real-Time Data on Health Care-Acquired Infections

New program helps preventionists combine clinical and administrative data about infections

Published: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 10:49

(3M Infection Prevention: St. Paul, MN) -- 3M Infection Prevention and RL Solutions announced a joint feasibility program to provide health care-facilities data on the rate of infection in real time, along with the costs associated with those infections. This collaborative effort brings together RL Solutions’ leading infection surveillance system, RL6:Infection, with the 3M HAI Cost Analysis Report, which gives hospitals and health care facilities the ability to track the cost of health care-acquired infections (HAIs).

3M HAI Cost Analysis Report combines software and services—merging infection information and administrative (coded) systems—to highlight the financial ramifications of HAIs, while giving hospitals the ability to develop business cases to support infection prevention initiatives.

The program fits into 3M Infection Prevention’s mission of developing solutions to minimize the risk of HAIs, which, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report, are the most common complications of hospital care and one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States. By consistently gathering important metrics through the dual emphasis on data and cost associated with HAIs throughout the hospital, the new solution allows infection preventionists to apply the same degree of rigor to every aspect of infection control facilitywide.

“We are confident this new solution will become a valuable asset in the fight against HAIs,” says Debra Rectenwald, 3M Infection Prevention Division president and general manager. “For the first time, infection preventionists will have the tools they need not only to track the number of infections, but also to assess the cost of those infections.”

Looking beyond clinical data

Currently, there are two types of databases used for infection prevention: administrative and clinical. Until now, hospitals rarely looked at administrative data as part of their infection surveillance efforts. While clinical data provides maximum accuracy in identifying HAIs in real-time, there is an increasingly urgent need for infection preventionists to understand how administrative and clinical data can be used together to resolve potential discrepancies and, ust as important, how to recognize situations when a combined use of clinical and administrative data is necessary.

The 3M HAI Cost Analysis Report enables infection preventionists to pull the costs of HAIs, thereby strengthening the case for a robust infection prevention program. By comparing administrative data with clinical data, hospitals are more likely to receive accurate reimbursement payments, which allows them to dedicate saved costs to other prevention initiatives.

The joint feasibility solution allows infection preventionists to compare the two sets of data, identify discrepancies, uncover potential savings, and highlight the financial impact of infection prevention initiatives to the facility.

Georgene Saliba, risk management administrator,and Terry Burger, infection control director, both of the Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, Pennsylvania, recently began comparing these datasets as part of Lehigh Valley's overall review of hospital acquired conditions and infection prevention strategy. “There is no question that information pulled from lab, admission, and surgery systems will continue to be the backbone of any infection surveillance initiative,” say Saliba and Burger. “But looking at coded data is also critical. For example, a simple documentation error could result in something being reported as an infection when it was not. Ultimately, it is our goal to identify gaps in order to maximize patient safety outcomes.”

How does it work?

3M HAI Cost Analysis Report brings together administrative data from either Medpar, the central repository for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) data, or facility data. It then enables the analysis of the cost of cases with an HAI code compared to the cost of cases without an HAI.

The report then drills down into the cases coded with an HAI and sorts them by discharge code, meaning hospital teams may view the HAI rate by procedure, enabling facilities to target necessary infection prevention improvements. By analyzing data from both the 3M HAI Cost Analysis Report and the data from RL6:Infection, infection preventionists have both financial and clinical information.

An emerging trend

The importance of tracking HAI rates and their associated costs is generating discussion among leaders in the infection prevention field. At the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology's (APIC) Annual Educational Conference and International Meeting, this new approach to using administrative and clinical data will be featured in an educational session. The session will explain how and when administrative data can be used in combination with, or as an adjunct to, clinical data in infection prevention reports to allow for more accurate reporting procedures, further making the case for infection prevention programs.

“Giving hospitals the ability to quickly see information that is important to them, regardless of source and in the format they want, is something that is integral to the vision of RL Solutions,” says Sanjay Malaviya, RL Solutions president and CEO. “We believe that this joint solution will provide health care organizations with another avenue to drive cost savings while enhancing the patient experience—one that they may not have been readily aware of—and we are excited to work alongside 3M to make it a reality.”

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About The Author

3M Infection Prevention Division’s picture

3M Infection Prevention Division

The 3M Infection Prevention Division is on a mission to provide health care professionals with solutions to minimize the risks of health care-associated infections. Combining science and technology, 3M has introduced more than 40 distinct technology platforms and a comprehensive portfolio of quality products that help the health care industry define and address current infection-prevention best practices.