Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Public Data Ferret On KOMO 1000: Washington Hospital Infection Rates

by Matt Rosenberg June 23rd, 2010

Yesterday in my regular weekly segment on KOMO 1000 News Radio Seattle featuring news from our Public Data Ferret government transparency project, I highlighted online information from the state on hospital infection rates. Here’s the original Ferret write-up and audio of the segment. The transcript follows.

Nancy Barrick: “And how about hospital infections, that’s our topic today with Matt Rosenberg, of communityforums.org, that’s where you can use their feature the Public Data Ferret. And Matt, you know, going to the hospital, pretty stressful event, and now, an increasing risk of infections going on with hospital stays. What have you found about tracking the record of hospitals?”

Matt Rosenberg: “Well good morning Nancy and Bill. The State Department of Health here in Washington publishes online annual data revealing which hospitals have the highest rates of infection from tubing and ventilators. What you do, is you got to the department’s “Hospital-Associated Infection Performance Data” hub. I know that’s a mouthful, we’ve got a link to it at our post at Data Ferret, and there, you can use handy interactive maps and tables to learn more. So, naturally, I checked it out. One of the two big categories is infections from what are called “central line tubing.” And we’ve all seen this stuff, it’s used to deliver fluids or drugs or take blood samples or even monitor the pressure of inside heart arteries.”

“And the four hospitals units in the state with the highest central line infection rates, in 2009 according the state department of health, were the adult medical surgical intensive care units at Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon, Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton, Swedish Medical Center Cherry Hill in Seattle, and the neonatal ICU at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital.”

“Now, I do want to share the second major category, and that’s ventilator-associated pneumonia infections. Eight facilities were reported by the state as having high rates in 2009. Harrison, again, in Bremerton, plus Overlake Medical Center In Bellevue, Mary Bridge Children’s in Tacoma, St. Clare in Lakewood, Peace Health St. John in Longview, Legacy Salmon Creek in Vancouver, Holy Family in Spokane and Valley Medical Center in Spokane Valley.”

Bill Rice: “And real quick Matt, where can we get more information?”

Matt Rosenberg: “More at our site. And I do want to share that education on how to prevent this stuff is important. We link to that, there are a lot of sanitary steps that are very crucial, and the state also reports something called ‘adverse events’ such as surgical tools being left inside bodies or fatal falls, but they just give raw numbers, not rates. We’ll be following that with the state to see if they can get the data in better shape.”

Nancy Barrick: “All the news we don’t want to know, but should. Thank you so much, Matt Rosenberg with communityforums.org.”

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