Inspired by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s “100,000 Lives Campaign,” Hunterdon Medical Center organized an interdisciplinary team to tackle central catheter bacteremias. The team, led by the intensive care unit (ICU) clinical coordinator, also consisted of a nurse epidemiologist, the quality improvement director, the process improvement manager, the ICU nurse manager, and the medical director. We chose the Six Sigma improvement methodology1,3 to help us define, measure, analyze, improve, and control our process.

According to a review of the data, our unit had incurred 3.3 central catheter infections per 1000 catheter days during 2005, which translated to 6 central catheter infections for the year at an approximate cost of $40000 per infection or $240000 for the year. It was clear that we had some work to do, not only for the financial implications but, most importantly, to prevent these life-threatening infections in our patients.

We began...

You do not currently have access to this content.