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    March 27, 2019
    Berlin, Md. — The Maryland Patient Safety Center has named Atlantic General Hospital the recipient of the 2019 Minogue Award for Patient Safety Innovation for their success in decreasing hospital-acquired C-diff infections while also reducing isolation time.
    C-diff, or Clostridium difficile, is a common but dangerous infection that can result from antibiotic use. According to the CDC, “when a person takes antibiotics, good bacteria that prevent against infections are destroyed for several months. During this time, patients can get sick from C-diff.” 
    In 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services charged all US hospitals with the goal of reducing their hospital acquired C-diff rates by 20 percent. To address this, Atlantic General had implemented evidence based practices to reduce C-diff infections, but realized they needed to take further action to reduce the incidence of C-diff.
    So they set a goal for innovation: to reduce the incidence of C-diff while also reducing the amount of time spent in isolation, increasing patient satisfaction and health outcomes, and reducing cost.
    The Interdisciplinary Infection Prevention committee at the hospital identified that liberal use of contact insolation, which is a quarantine of patients with C-diff or those with a history of the infection, causes patient dissatisfaction and even leads to less interaction with their healthcare providers. Atlantic General Hospital is focused on the right isolation for the right patients at the right time.
    The team began by addressing the over-prescribing of antibiotics, revising their screening efforts, standardizing their patient isolation policies, and providing family and patient education about the risk of C-diff.
    “At first, decreasing the number of days a patient remains on contact isolation while attempting to decrease the rate of C-diff infections seems like an oxymoron.  Quite frankly, it seems counterintuitive,” said Nicole Morris BSN, CCRN, the manager of Infection Prevention at Atlantic General Hospital. “But, through a number of efforts we achieved that and more.”

    Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Specialty Hospital is the recipient of the Maryland Patient Safety Center’s Distinguished Achievement in Patient Safety Innovation ­­­Award. Eight other hospitals were named Circle of Honor winners.
    The winners were selected by a panel of independent judges who are leaders in the Maryland healthcare community. The two top awards will be presented at the 15th Annual Maryland Patient Safety Conference on April 5, 2019 at the Hilton Baltimore.
    “Timely and innovative solutions like the ones we are recognizing demonstrate proactiveness and address the constantly evolving healthcare landscape facing practitioners in Maryland and beyond,” said Robert Imhoff, President & CEO of the Maryland Patient Safety Center. “We congratulate our winners, who through their strategic thinking and continuous efforts have advanced the cause of improving patient safety and making healthcare in Maryland the safest in the nation.”
    About Atlantic General Hospital
    Atlantic General Hospital has been providing quality health care to the residents of Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset (Md.) and Sussex (Del.) counties since May 1993.  Built through the commitment and generosity of a dedicated community, Atlantic General’s main facility in Berlin, Md., combines the warmth of personalized attention with the reassurance of medical expertise and advanced technology. The not-for-profit hospital provides quality specialty care in oncology, medical and surgical weight loss, orthopedics, and women’s diagnostics among other services. Atlantic General Health System, its network of more than 40 primary care providers and specialists, cares for residents and visitors throughout the region.  For more information about Atlantic General Hospital, visit www.atlanticgeneral.org.
    About the Minogue Award
    Named for the Maryland Patient Safety Center’s first president and executive director, William Minogue, MD, FACP, to honor his enduring contributions to and passion for improving patient care and safety, The Minogue Award was created by the Center Board of Directors to recognize an organization within the state that has made a demonstrable difference in patient safety through an innovative solution.
    About The Maryland Patient Safety Center
    The Maryland Patient Safety Center brings together hospitals and providers to improve patient safety and healthcare quality for all Marylanders. The goal of the Center is to make healthcare in Maryland the safest in the nation by focusing on the systems of care, reducing the occurrence of adverse events and improving the culture of patient safety at Maryland healthcare facilities. For more information, visit www.marylandpatientsafetycenter.org.