H.23 Preventing CAUTI (catheter-associated urinary tract infections)
Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are a constant topic of conversation for quality improvement in healthcare. The most common HAI is the catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI), contributing to 1 in 3 HAIs. These infections arise when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urinary catheter that has been placed to drain urine from the bladder, and are associated with increased morbidity, mortality, healthcare costs, length of stay, and increased antibiotic use. About an estimated 13,000 annual deaths are attributed to CAUTI. Given these facts, there is an obvious need to limit the incidence of CAUTI through efficient identification.
Current healthcare industry standards focus on CAUTI prevention through a slew of quality improvement checklists and protocols for house staff to ensure urinary catheters have appropriate hygiene, are removed in a timely manner, and so forth. While these preventative tactics are crucial in reducing the overall incidence of CAUTI, the data clearly indicates that more needs to be done. In that regard, there needs to be a focus on rapid identification of CAUTI. Current industry work surrounding CAUTI identification has involved sensor technology that uses acidity levels of urine (pH) to identify presence of urinary tract infections via catheters. When the urine acidity changes to a point that is concerning for infection, the urine color changes by casting dye into the urinary bag. Although creative and simple for identification, this technology remains sub-optimal given its lack of deployment into the medical field. Additional ideas may have been worked on, but current bedside care has yet to implement any novel techniques for CAUTI identification.
The goal of this project is to design a system that indexes on simplicity, in both identification of CAUTI and implementation at bedside. The possible solutions should also be easy to use for all healthcare staff, regardless of training. The current healthcare landscape places an emphasis on reducing hospital-acquired infections, so a potential solution for CAUTI would create a positive, lasting impact