Neonatal ICU outcomes boosted by quality improvements

August 13, 2009

Some neonatal intensive care units have reduced their incidences of bronchopulmonary dysplasia and nosocomial infections: find out how.

Canada's neonatal intensive care units (NICU) are reporting reduced incidence of bronchopulmonary dysplasia and nosocomial infections thanks to the country's continuous quality improvement program, according to research online in Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Results indicated a sharp drop in incidence of NICU nosocomial infections in within-group comparisons from 25.4% to 17.4% in a two-year period. For the units experiencing bronchopulmonary dysplasia, there was also a moderate dip in incidence in within-group comparisons from 29.4% to 24.9%.

The study is part of the cluster randomized trial that is analyzing the evidence-based practice for improving quality (EPIQ) method. EPIQ looks at evidence-based studies and data from participating hospitals to determine hospital practices for targeted measures. Researchers used six neonatal intensive care units for methods to reduce nosocomial infections, six for approaches to lessen bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and five to serve as a comparison group.

A total of 2,465 infants were in the infection group, 3,070 in pulmonary, and 984 in the comparison group; all were born at 32 weeks or less.

Researchers note that their methods may be effective in other health care areas, boosting efficacy and cost-effectiveness of quality improvement endeavors.The study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, as well as by other health foundations and hospitals.