Central line-associated bloodstream infections declined by 40 percent in hospital intensive care units participating in a nationwide patient safety project. On the CUSP: Stop BSI, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Education and led by the AHA's Health Research & Educational Trust, used the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program to prevent more than 2,000 CLABSIs, saving more than 500 lives and avoiding more than $34 million in health care costs. CLABSI is one type of health care-associated infection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that roughly 2 million health care-associated infections occur each year in U.S. hospitals and result in as many as 99,000 deaths and approximately $40 billion in costs. An estimated 250,000 CLABSI incidents occur in hospitals every year and an estimated 62,000 patients who get these infections die as a result. Preliminary findings indicate that hospitals participating in the project reduced the rate of CLABSI nationally from 1.903 infections per 1,000 central line days to 1.137 infections per 1,000 line days.

The project involved hospital teams at 1,100 adult ICUs in 44 states over a four-year period using CUSP, which is a customizable program that helps hospitals to address the foundation of how clinical teams care for patients. It combines clinical best practices with an understanding of the science of safety, improved safety culture and an increased focus on teamwork. In addition to the culture change driven by the CUSP program, hospitals adopted five evidence-based guidelines for central line insertion and maintenance.

For more information, go to www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/cusp/index.html.