Objective: Six neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) that are members of the Vermont Oxford National Evidence-Based Quality Improvement Collaborative for Neonatology collaborated to reduce infection rates. There were 7 centers in the original focus group, but 1 center left the collaborative after 1 year. The objective of this study was to develop strategies to decrease nosocomial infection rates in NICUs.
Methods: The process included a comprehensive literature review, internal practice analyses, benchmark studies, and development of practical experience through rapid-cycle changes, subsequent analysis, and feedback. This process led to 3 summary statements on potentially better practices in handwashing, approach to nosocomial sepsis evaluations, and central venous catheter management.
Results: These statements provide a basis for an evidence-based approach to lowering neonatal intensive care unit nosocomial infection rates.
Conclusions: The 2-year process also led to changes in the culture and habits of the institutions involved, which should in turn have long-term effects on other aspects of quality improvement.