Amplify expertise – Carteret Health Care

Reducing CAUTIs and C. diff through Health Care Consulting

Dr. Carteret Health Care Chief Nursing Officer Patti Hudson consults with her staff.

Member: Carteret Health Care, Morehead City, North Carolina

Anyone working in a hospital knows that any patient care mistake is taken seriously. That's why Carteret Health Care Chief Nursing Officer Patti Hudson, R.N., M.S.N, N.E., attacks quality improvement opportunities with Health Care Consulting (HCC) projects made available through her hospital's membership in the Mayo Clinic Care Network.

"Every hospital has quality meetings and task forces that are driving quality improvement," Hudson says. "My team does a fair amount of research, consults journals for best practices and gets input from other organizations. But it's time-consuming. When we need changes, time matters."

Since Carteret, located in Morehead City, North Carolina, joined the care network in 2019, Hudson says her approach has changed. "My first questions are 'Have we consulted Mayo Clinic about this? What can we learn from them?' In the short time we have been members, we've received high-quality information and best practices. We've seen great outcomes from consulting (with Mayo Clinic)."

Reducing infections

One of Carteret's first HCC engagements was for catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs). Data revealed an improvement opportunity. One of the root causes of infection was the number of Foley catheter days — how long the device was in the patient — which was causing a higher rate of urinary tract infections. A physician's order was required for catheter removal.

Mayo Clinic shared its protocol, which allows removal of a Foley catheter without a physician's order. Hudson's team created a protocol similar Mayo's and presented it to Carteret's medical executive committee for approval; it was subsequently implemented. "Our Foley days are down way below our target. In fact, we've seen a reduction of 30% to 40% from last year and fewer CAUTIs as a result."

Accessing best practices

Another area of improvement has been in Clostridium difficile infections. "C. diff is an infection that patients can get in the hospital. Occurrences are publicly reported," says Hudson. "We consulted with Mayo and learned they do an infection prevention clearance before the lab does a test," she says. "They outlined the process, criteria and how it works. Our team was able to take their template and run with it. We haven't had a C. diff infection since."

Hudson is happy to pass on her solution to many hospital quality issues. "I love the relationship we have with Mayo Clinic. To have the ability to access best practices is fantastic. It saves time, and we've seen a huge difference in our quality metrics."