In the one example cited here, data mining was a big help as patterns were identified with urinary tract infections...and traced to the catheters and their use....good example of a hospital taking advantage of data mining for a positive result...BD
As the public's alarm mounts over methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, and other antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a few hospitals in California and across the country are finding that aggressive action to detect and avert infections pays off. During a recently concluded 18-month pilot project, nine California hospitals were able to prevent an estimated 600 healthcare-associated infections by using a data-mining program to comb through computerized records, flagging infections quickly enough to thwart their spread. The hospitals avoided $9 million in treatment costs, said Deborah Schwab, director of health and technology for the Blue Shield of California Foundation, the healthcare philanthropy that sponsored the million-dollar experiment.
"If you asked most hospitals if they had a problem, they'd probably say no," said Schwab, a former nurse. "When I entered healthcare in the 1970s, everyone assumed that hospital-acquired infections were just tough luck."
Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, one of the participating hospitals, uncovered a pattern of urinary tract infections, many of them traced to the use of urinary catheters, said Debbie Mulligan, the hospital's infection prevention manager. By limiting the amount of time a patient used a catheter and substituting high-quality diapers, the hospital has been able to reduce its infection rate by 20%, Mulligan said.