How 600 hospitals reduced catheter-associated urinary tract infections by 14 percent

Data sharing is key

A programme encouraging the use of teamwork, data, and best practices helped to decrease the overall rate of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) across hundreds of hospitals, according to a study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Study details

The study examined 603 hospitals that followed recommendations from the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) for 18 months.

Start your journey to zero infections

CUSP, a joint effort between the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Health Research and Educational Trust to reduce CAUTIs, recommended that hospitals develop or update catheter-insertion policies and provide nurses and physicians with monthly CAUTI data.

CUSP also recommended daily nursing rounds to consider alternative urine collection methods to decrease the overall use of catheters.

Participating hospital units were required to form a team tasked with preventing CAUTIs. Most participating units were ICUs, general medicine units, or surgery units.


According to the study, participating units' overall CAUTI rate dropped by 14 percent between March 2011 and November 2013.

The decrease came largely from reductions in non-intensive care settings, such as general medicine, which experienced a 32 percent drop. ICUs experienced a minimal decline, at less than 1 percent.

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Further, the study found that overall catheter use at participating units fell from 19.8 to 18.2 percent in non-ICUs and from 61.1 to 57.6 percent in ICUs during the study period.

According to Modern Healthcare, the study's results could highlight a way to address rising CAUTI rates across the country. CAUTI rates in the United States increased by 6 percent between 2009 and 2013 despite new guidance and penalties related to such infections (Castellucci, Modern Healthcare, 6/1; Diamond, "Pulse," Politico, 6/2).


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