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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has demonstrated the importance of stewardship of viral diagnostic tests to aid infection prevention efforts in healthcare facilities. We highlight diagnostic stewardship lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic and discuss how diagnostic stewardship principles can inform management and mitigation of future emerging pathogens in acute-care settings. Diagnostic stewardship during the COVID-19 pandemic evolved as information regarding transmission (eg, routes, timing, and efficiency of transmission) became available. Diagnostic testing approaches varied depending on the availability of tests and when supplies and resources became available. Diagnostic stewardship lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic include the importance of prioritizing robust infection prevention mitigation controls above universal admission testing and considering preprocedure testing, contact tracing, and surveillance in the healthcare facility in certain scenarios. In the future, optimal diagnostic stewardship approaches should be tailored to specific pathogen virulence, transmissibility, and transmission routes, as well as disease severity, availability of effective treatments and vaccines, and timing of infectiousness relative to symptoms. This document is part of a series of papers developed by the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America on diagnostic stewardship in infection prevention and antibiotic stewardship.1
To determine the proportion of hospitals that implemented 6 leading practices in their antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs). Design: Cross-sectional observational survey.
Advance letters and electronic questionnaires were initiated February 2020. Primary outcomes were percentage of hospitals that (1) implemented facility-specific treatment guidelines (FSTG); (2) performed interactive prospective audit and feedback (PAF) either face-to-face or by telephone; (3) optimized diagnostic testing; (4) measured antibiotic utilization; (5) measured C. difficile infection (CDI); and (6) measured adherence to FSTGs.
Of 948 hospitals invited, 288 (30.4%) completed the questionnaire. Among them, 82 (28.5%) had <99 beds, 162 (56.3%) had 100–399 beds, and 44 (15.2%) had ≥400+ beds. Also, 230 (79.9%) were healthcare system members. Moreover, 161 hospitals (54.8%) reported implementing FSTGs; 214 (72.4%) performed interactive PAF; 105 (34.9%) implemented procedures to optimize diagnostic testing; 235 (79.8%) measured antibiotic utilization; 258 (88.2%) measured CDI; and 110 (37.1%) measured FSTG adherence. Small hospitals performed less interactive PAF (61.0%; P = .0018). Small and nonsystem hospitals were less likely to optimize diagnostic testing: 25.2% (P = .030) and 21.0% (P = .0077), respectively. Small hospitals were less likely to measure antibiotic utilization (67.8%; P = .0010) and CDI (80.3%; P = .0038). Nonsystem hospitals were less likely to implement FSTGs (34.3%; P < .001).
Significant variation exists in the adoption of ASP leading practices. A minority of hospitals have taken action to optimize diagnostic testing and measure adherence to FSTGs. Additional efforts are needed to expand adoption of leading practices across all acute-care hospitals with the greatest need in smaller hospitals.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination rates of a large health system reflected their respective service areas but varied by work role. Nurse vaccination rates were higher (56.9%) and rates among nursing support personnel were lower (38.6%) than those of their communities (51.7%; P < .001). Physician vaccination rates were highest (71.6%) and were not associated with community vaccination levels.
The extensive use of the urinalysis for screening and monitoring in diverse clinical settings usually identifies abnormal urinalysis parameters in patients with no suspicion of urinary tract infection, which in turn triggers urine cultures, inappropriate antimicrobial use, and associated harms like Clostridioides difficile infection. We highlight how urinalysis is misused, and suggest deconstructing it to better align with evolving patterns of clinical use and the differential diagnosis being targeted. Reclassifying the urinalysis components into infectious and non-infectious panels and interpreting urinalysis results in the context of individual patient’s pretest probability of disease is a novel approach to promote proper urine testing and antimicrobial stewardship, and achieve better outcomes.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had a considerable impact on US hospitalizations, affecting processes and patient population.
To evaluate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on central-line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) and catheter associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) in hospitals.
We performed a retrospective study of CLABSIs and CAUTIs in 78 US 12 months before COVID-19 and 6 months during COVID-19 pandemic.
During the 2 study periods, there were 795,022 central-line days and 817,267 urinary catheter days. Compared to the period before the COVID-19 pandemic, CLABSI rates increased by 51.0% during the pandemic period from 0.56 to 0.85 per 1,000 line days (P < .001) and by 62.9% from 1.00 to 1.64 per 10,000 patient days (P < .001). Hospitals with monthly COVID-19 patients representing >10% of admissions had a National Health Safety Network (NHSN) device standardized infection ratio for CLABSI that was 2.38 times higher than hospitals with <5% prevalence during the pandemic period (P = .004). Coagulase-negative Staphylococcus CLABSIs increased by 130% from 0.07 to 0.17 events per 1,000 line days (P < .001), and Candida spp by 56.9% from 0.14 to 0.21 per 1,000 line days (P = .01). In contrast, no significant changes were identified for CAUTI (0.86 vs 0.77 per 1,000 catheter days; P = .19).
The COVID-19 pandemic was associated with substantial increases in CLABSIs but not CAUTIs. Our findings underscore the importance of hardwiring processes for optimal line care and regular feedback on performance to maintain a safe environment.
Laboratory-identified bloodstream infections (LAB-ID BSIs) in recently discharged patients are likely to be classified as healthcare-associated community-onset (HCA-CO) infections, even though they may represent hospital-onset (HO) infections. A review of LAB-ID BSIs among patients discharged within 14 days revealed that 109 of 756 cases (14.4%) were HO infections. The BSI risk being misclassified as HCA CO may underestimate the hospital infection risk.
The device standardized infection ratio (SIR) is used to compare unit and hospital performance for different publicly reported infections. Interventions to reduce unnecessary device use may select a higher-risk population, leading to a paradoxical increase in SIR for some high-performing facilities. The standardized utilization ratio (SUR) adjusts for device use for different units and facilities.
We calculated the device SIR (calculated based on actual device days) and population SIR (defined as Σ observed events divided by Σ predicted events based on predicted device days), adjusting for the facility SUR for both central-line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) in 84 hospitals from a single system for calendar years 2016 and 2017.
The central-line SUR was 1.02 for 801,172 central-line days, with a device SIR of 0.76 and a population SIR of 0.78, a 1.6% relative increase. On the other hand, the urinary catheter SUR was 0.90 for 757,504 urinary catheter days, with a device SIR of 0.84 and a population SIR of 0.76, a 10.0% relative decrease. The cumulative attributable difference for CAUTI to a target SIR of 1 was −135.4 for the device SIR compared to −203.66 for the population SIR, a 50.8% increase in prevented events.
Population SIR accounts for predicted device utilization; thus, it is an attractive metric with which to address overall risk of infection or harm to a patient population. It also reduces the risk of selection bias that may impact the device SIR with interventions to reduce device use.
Catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) has long been considered a preventable healthcare-associated infection. Many federal agencies, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and public and private healthcare organizations have implemented strategies aimed at preventing CAUTIs. To monitor progress in CAUTI prevention, the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) CAUTI metric has been adopted nationally as the primary outcome measure and has been refined over the past decades. However, this surveillance metric may underestimate infectious and noninfectious catheter harm. We suggest evolving to more inclusive performance metrics to better reflect quality improvement efforts underway in hospitals. The standardized device utilization ratio (SUR) provides a good surrogate for preventable catheter harm. On the other hand, a population-based metric that combines both standardized infection ratio (SIR) and SUR would address both infectious and noninfectious harm, while adjusting for population risk. Finally, electronically captured catheter-associated bacteriuria may contribute essential information on local testing stewardship.
We compared interventions to improve urinary catheter care and urine culturing in adult intensive care units of 2 teaching hospitals. Compared to hospital A, hospital B had lower catheter utilization, more compliance with appropriate indications and maintenance, but higher urine culture use and more positive urine cultures per 1,000 patient days.
Of 500 hospital-onset Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia events (58% methicillin-susceptible S. aureus [MSSA]; 42% methicillin-resistant S. aureus [MRSA]), we found no significant differences in S. aureus bacteremia rates between medium-sized and large hospitals. However, the proportion of S. aureus bacteremia caused by MSSA was greater in medium-sized hospitals and did not correlate with MRSA bacteremia.
Urinary catheters, many of which are placed in the emergency department (ED) setting, are often inappropriate, and they are associated with infectious and noninfectious complications. Although several studies evaluating the effect of interventions have focused on reducing catheter use in the ED setting, the organizational contexts within which these interventions were implemented have not been compared.
A total of 18 hospitals in the Ascension health system (ie, system-based hospitals) and 16 hospitals in the state of Michigan (ie, state-based hospitals led by the Michigan Health and Hospital Association) implemented ED interventions focused on reducing urinary catheter use. Data on urinary catheter placement in the ED, indications for catheter use, and presence of physician order for catheter placement were collected for interventions in both hospital types. Multilevel negative binomial regression was used to compare the system-based versus state-based interventions.
A total of 13,215 patients (889 with catheters) from the system-based intervention were compared to 12,104 patients (718 with catheters) from the state-based intervention. Statistically significant and sustainable reductions in urinary catheter placement (incidence rate ratio, 0.79; P=.02) and improvements in appropriate use of urinary catheters (odds ratio [OR], 1.86; P=.004) in the ED were observed in the system-based intervention, compared to the state-based intervention. Differences by collaborative structure in changes in presence of physician order for urinary catheter placement (OR, 1.14; P=.60) were not observed.
An ED intervention consisting of establishing institutional guidelines for appropriate catheter placement and identifying clinical champions to promote adherence was associated with reducing unnecessary urinary catheter use under a system-based collaborative structure.
The National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) definition was revised as of January 2015 to exclude funguria and lower bacteriuria levels. We evaluated the effect of the CAUTI definition change on NHSN-defined central-line–associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) outcomes.
We compared CAUTI and CLABSI NHSN-defined outcomes for calendar years 2014 and 2015 in the adult intensive care units (ICUs) of a single large health system. Changes in the event rates, the associated organisms, and the standardized infection ratio (SIR) were evaluated.
The study included 137 adult ICUs from 65 hospitals. The CAUTI SIR dropped from 1.04 in 2014 to 0.58 in 2015 (−44.2%), while the CLABSI SIR increased from 0.36 in 2014 to 0.47 in 2015 (+30.6%). CAUTI rates dropped 44.8% from 2.09 to 1.15 events per 1,000 device days (P<.001). Gram-positive–associated CAUTI rates dropped 36.7% from 0.34 to 0.22 per 1,000 device days (P=.007). CLABSI rates increased 27.1% from 0.71 to 0.90 per 1,000 device days (P=.027). Candida-associated CLABSI increased by 91.1% from 0.104 to 0.198 per 1,000 device days (P=.012), and Enterococcus-associated CLABSI increased by 121.6% from 0.071 to 0.16 per 1,000 device days (P=.008).
The revised CAUTI definition led to a large reduction in CAUTI rates and, in turn, an increase in candidemia and enterococcemia cases classified as CLABSI events. These findings have important implications on the perceived successes or failures to eliminate both infections.