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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University October 27, 2008 | Vol. 38 No. 9
More Than $2 Million in Gifts Go to JH Patient Safety

By Gary Stephenson
Johns Hopkins Medicine

The Johns Hopkins Quality and Safety Research Group, led by award-winning patient safety researcher Peter Pronovost, has received gifts worth more than $2 million to expand efforts to further reduce central line-associated bloodstream infections in hospital intensive care units. The philanthropic support comes through a matching fund gift from an anonymous donor and the Sandler Foundation of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund.

The money will support a national effort to replicate in as many as 20 other states a simple "checklist" tool and program developed by QSRG that has been widely credited with saving nearly 1,800 lives and $200 million annually across the state of Michigan, which implemented the program in 2003.

The checklist, drawn from proven precautions, has been adopted, along with training in its use, by more than 100 Michigan ICUs, which report a drop in bloodstream infections by up to 66 percent.

Often referred to as central venous catheters, central line catheters are tubes placed into a large vein in a patient's neck, chest or groin to carry drugs or other fluids or for collecting blood samples. Each year, an estimated 250,000 cases of central line-associated bloodstream infections occur in hospitals in the United States, and an estimated 30,000 to 62,000 patients who get the infections die as a result, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The cost of such infections is estimated nationally to be $3 billion.

Pronovost, a professor of anesthesiology, critical care medicine and surgery, is the founding director of QSRG and medical director of Johns Hopkins' Center for Innovation in Quality Patient Care. Earlier this year, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awarded a $500,000 "genius grant" to Pronovost, and in late September the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., released a report strongly endorsing Pronovost's program, noting that its use has the potential to save thousands of lives and millions of dollars throughout the United States.

In early October, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality awarded a $3 million contract aimed at reducing central line-associated bloodstream infections in hospital ICUs to a consortium made up of the Health Research and Education Trust of the American Hospital Association, Johns Hopkins and the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.

Pronovost was named one of the world's "most influential people" of 2008 by Time magazine for his work in patient safety.


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