A new whitepaper from GE Healthcare IT highlights the crucial role IT must play in preventing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), which affect 1.7 million inpatients each year and are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.
The report shows several instances where IT is showing promise.
“Evidence-based protocols, which start out as paper-based guidelines, are eventually rolled into a clinical information system and then used as a ‘shared baseline’ at the patient bedside,” it reads. “As such, physicians are expected to base their treatments on these protocols and then to make necessary adjustments to meet the individual needs of each patient. Currently, about 80 percent of care delivery at Intermountain is evidence-based, as opposed to less than 55 percent for the rest of the industry. Utilization of such clinical decision support technology drives unnecessary care and unnecessary variation out of the care delivery process – helping to make Intermountain a top performing organization.”
The GE report concludes that using such an electronic system to provide clinicians with evidence-based criteria “holds the promise to make implementing patient safety initiatives even easier and more effective. Because HAIs are prevalent, costly and easily prevented, applying automated clinical decision support to prevent such infections is likely to result in a substantial return on investment.”