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Local Hospitals Collaborate On Fighting C-Diff Infections

A collaboration involving some local hospitals and Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield to reduce infection rates is getting national attention.

The Wall Street Journalthis week profiled the effort by Strong, Highland, Unity and Rochester General Hospitals designed to curtail the rate of infection for Clostridium difficile or C. diff as it’s commonly known.

That infection can cause severe diarrhea, to the point of being life threatening. Dr. Ghinwa Dumyati  is an infectious diseases expert at URMC and helped organize the effort.

She says a collaboration to fight this infection just made sense.

"Patients don’t go to one hospital, they kind of move between hospitals so it’s very important for a patient to see the same things done at the four hospitals. The second thing that was important, we had face to face meetings on a regular basis and a lot of sharing experience, what worked at one hospital can be translated and used at another hospital.”

Among the techniques used to combat the C. diff  infection  are using specialized cleaning procedures and reducing the inappropriate use of antibiotics.

“We share data on infection, we share data on compliance with antibiotic use , compliance with environmental cleaning, and that really motivates people to do better,” Dumyati told WXXI News.

Recent numbers show the collaboration reduced the rate of C. diff by 36 percent compared to 2011 levels.

Dumyati and Excellus plan to expand the initiative this summer to include other hospitals throughout Upstate New York.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.