Safe Hands Initiative: Eliminating Healthcare Associated Infections by 2012


Washington Hospitals Take Aim at Infections

Washington hospitals are working together to raise the bar when it comes to patient safety. To better communicate the progress Washington hospitals are making, the WSHA board voted to create the Washington Hospital’s In Safe Hands Initiative with an initial goal for Washington hospitals to eliminate hospital acquired infections by 2012.  Targeted infections and infection prevention practices include:

Since 2005, Washington hospitals have collaborated to reduce hospital acquired infections. While progress has been made, hospital leaders and physicians have asked the hospital association for support to accelerate this effort.

“This is truly a progression of the good work Washington hospitals have been doing for the past several years,” said John Fletcher, WSHA Patient Safety Committee Chair and Vice President and Chief Executive of Providence Health & Services WA/MT Region. “Setting a goal and a timeline raises our focus and engages our communities.”

Swedish Health Services was the first to have its board unanimously approve the infection elimination goal.

“This is the right thing to do for Washington. Setting a goal of eliminating hospital acquired infections just makes sense,” said Rod Hochman, Chief Executive Officer at Swedish Health Services. “We are 100 percent committed to patients in our facilities and across the state. Working together we can make this happen.”

The initiative and the initial goal was developed with input from clinical experts, hospital leaders, the Washington State Department of Health, and the Consumers’ Union.

The goal will be supported through WSHA’s Patient Safety Program. WSHA staff will provide toolkits to help hospitals implement evidence based practices. Progress will be measured using data that is already reported when possible. Initially, hospitals will receive reports with their own data against a statewide benchmark. Eventually, data will be compared on a hospital by hospital basis with a focus on improving care.

“Once again, hospitals in Washington State are leading the nation by taking an exciting step toward achieving a goal we once thought was impossible to reach,” said  Leo Greenawalt,  President and CEO of  WSHA. “This is sending a clear message to our communities that hospitals are listening, and we will partner with them to eliminate hospital acquired infections.”

Washington hospitals are asked to participate in the initiative by signing a pledge of participation.  Participating hospitals agree to:

• Ask their board to adopt and work to achieve a goal of eliminating hospital acquired infections by 2012.
• Implement strategies to reduce hospital acquired infections, focusing first where there is the greatest opportunity for improvement in the hospital.  
• Measure and submit data as needed to be able to monitor progress towards this goal.
• Submit data to WSHA for measures.
• Provide information on progress to clinical staff so they can assist in this effort.
• Discuss infection results with hospital board.
• Share best practices and data with other Washington hospitals.

Compendium of Strategies to Prevent Healthcare - Associated Infections in Acute Care Hospitals



The Compendium of Strategies to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections in Acute Care Hospitals comprises of easy to implement, science-based strategies, to prevent six important healthcare -associated infections, that emphasize practical implementation.
You can download parts of the entire document by clicking on the links below.
Editorial: Primum Non Nocere 
Introduction: Improving Patient Safety Through Infection Control: A New Healthcare Imperative
A Compendium of Strategies to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections in Acute Care Hospitals
Strategies to Prevent Central Line-Associated Infections in Acute Care Hospitals
Strategies to Prevent Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia in Acute Care Hospitals
Strategies to Prevent Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections in Acute Care Hospitals
Strategies to Prevent Surgical Site Infections in Acute Care Hospitals
Strategies to Prevent Transmission of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus in AcuteCare Hospitals
Strategies to Prevent Clostridium difficile Infections in Acute Care Hospitals


CRE Resources
CRE Testing Algorithm from WDOH

WSHA CRE Rapid Response

CRE Surveillance Changes 2014


Scientific Expert Panel Report for MRSA and Antibiotic Resistant Organisms - January 2008

The Governor had convened an expert panel to answer the following question: "What are evidence-based recommendations for the most effective monitoring strategies and interventions for all antibiotic resistant organisms, including MRSA?" The findings of the panel address MRSA and antibiotic resistant organisms in the community and in hospitals.


Carol Wagner
(206) 577-1831

IHI President Don Berwick says:

?Washington's hospitals have made a series of bold commitments to safer care, and they are demonstrating this again in a breathtakingly dramatic goal: to eliminate hospital acquired infections by 2012. Leadership like that offers hope and instruction to the whole nation. I congratulate Washington hospitals for their courage, their clarity, and their constancy of purpose for improvement.?