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Urinary tract infection (UTI) is the most common hospital-acquired infection, accounting for 40% of all hospital-acquired infections. More than 80% of these infections are attributable to use of an indwelling urethral catheter.(1) Catheter-acquired urinary infections (cUTIs) have received significantly less attention than other health care–acquired infections, such as surgical site infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and bacteremia.
Sanjay Saint, MD, MPH, is Professor of Medicine at the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Dr. Saint's research has focused on reducing health care–associated infections, with a particular focus on preventing catheter-related urinary tract infections (UTIs). We asked him to speak with us about how research on UTI prevention provides broader lessons for patient safety.
Medication safety in hospitals depends on the successful execution of a complex system of scores of individual tasks that can be categorized into five stages: ordering or prescribing, preparing, dispensing, transcribing, and monitoring the patient's response. Many of these tasks lend themselves to technologic tools. Over the past 20 years, technology has played an increasingly larger role toward achieving the five rights of medication safety: getting the right dose of the right drug to the right patient using the right route and at the right time.