Keeping patients safe and healthy

Gritman Medical Center continues to far exceed national safety benchmarks

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Chief Quality Officer Connie Osborn (left) and infection prevention nurse Annette Veneziano help ensure the safety and comfort of patients at Gritman.

Gritman Medical Center is dedicated to ensuring patient safety and is proud to announce it had a 0.1% healthcare-acquired infection (HAI) rate in 2019, far below the national benchmark of 3.5%.

In the United States, roughly 1 in 31 hospital patients is diagnosed with a healthcare-acquired infection — infections patients get while receiving treatment for medical or surgical conditions. Gritman had just one HAI during all of 2019. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these infections, increasingly caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, account for nearly 100,000 deaths every year. HAIs also come with a major financial burden for both patients and the health institutions, with $96 billion to $147 billion lost annually in the U.S. alone.

Staff at Gritman take cleanliness and infections seriously, and the hospital’s very low infection rate is the result of a committed team working together to provide the best care. Gritman emphasizes hand hygiene, education and training, and it is committed to innovating and investing in the latest technology and tools to ensure the safety of patients and staff.

“This is quite a feat,” Gritman Chief Quality Officer Connie Osborn said. “I didn’t think in my career I would ever see a 0.1 percent healthcare-acquired infection rate. It’s amazing — you don’t have this kind of rate without everybody doing their jobs. We’ve got people doing the right things.”

While it is a team effort, a great deal of credit must go to Gritman’s Environmental Services team, which ensures facilities are properly cleaned and disinfected.

“If they weren’t doing their jobs, people would die. They save lives,” Osborn said. “EVS is one of the most important jobs in the hospital because if they didn’t do it, we would lose lives.”