Research Medical Center March 14, 2019

Dr. David McKinsey

HCA Healthcare (NYSE: HCA), a leading healthcare provider with 185 hospitals and more than 1,800 sites of care in 20 states and the United Kingdom, today announced a study published in the current issue of The Lancet and conducted exclusively at HCA Healthcare hospitals has shown an infection control technique achieved a 31 percent reduction in bloodstream infections and nearly a 40 percent reduction in antibiotic-resistant bacteria among non-ICU patients with central line catheters and lumbar drains.

Fifty-three of HCA Healthcare’s 185 hospitals, including HCA Midwest Health’s Research Medical Center, Lee’s Summit Medical Center and Overland Park Regional Medical Center, participated in the study. All HCA Midwest Health hospitals have already implemented the new processes as part of our continuing effort to prevent hospital infections. HCA Midwest Health is Kansas City’s leading healthcare provider.

“This reflects HCA Healthcare’s commitment to be a true learning healthcare system,” said Jonathan B. Perlin, MD, HCA Healthcare’s president, clinical services, and chief medical officer and one of the study’s authors. “We use the knowledge we capture from delivering care to millions of patients a year for continuous improvement and innovation, not only to fuel our own quality improvement efforts but also to solve vexing societal challenges such as infection prevention.”

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are a serious patient safety issue and their elimination is a top priority for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). On any given day, about one in 31 hospital patients has at least one HAI, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



The study, known as the ABATE Infection (active bathing to eliminate infection) Trial, is part of a national strategy to reduce HAIs. The study was conducted through a longstanding collaboration among HCA Healthcare, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, the University of California Irvine, and Rush University. The ABATE Trial was funded by the National Institutes of Health with contributed effort from HCA Healthcare. ABATE was conducted at 53 HCA Healthcare hospitals during a 21-month period involving 330,000 patients. Because it was a large-scale, pragmatic trial—a study conducted under “real world” conditions at community hospitals—the results of ABATE are believed to be generally applicable to hospitals across the country.

A learning health system, which uses data from approximately 31 million annual patient encounters to help continuously improve care, HCA Healthcare maintains the healthcare field’s largest system for analyzing clinical data. This makes HCA Healthcare desirable for conducting “pragmatic trials” such as ABATE because the patients are cared for in a single system whose diversity reflects community hospitals across the country and whose data management system facilitates large scale analysis.

“This study demonstrates how local HCA Midwest Hospitals benefit from the scale of HCA Healthcare, and our unprecedented ability to capture data to improve patient care,” said Research Medical Center Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. David McKinsey, MD.  “HCA Healthcare’s system enables us to gain ‘real-time’ knowledge and data from hospitals throughout our system, ultimately allowing us to move healthcare forward.”  

The ABATE Infection Trial builds on the *REDUCE MRSA Trial (*see link to national press release below) research conducted at HCA Healthcare hospitals and published by the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013 that documented how intensive care units in HCA Healthcare hospitals dramatically reduced infections and antibiotic resistant bacteria. Conducted among non-ICU patients, the ABATE Trial evaluated whether daily bathing with the antiseptic soap chlorhexidine (CHG)—and in those patients with MRSA, adding the nasal antibiotic mupirocin—more effectively reduced hospital-acquired bacterial infections than bathing with ordinary soap and water. While no significant difference between the two intervention groups was seen within the population overall, the researchers did find that patients with medical devices experienced a substantial benefit if they received the CHG/mupirocin intervention. Compared to patients outside the intervention, they experienced a 31 percent decrease in bloodstream infections and a nearly 40 percent decrease in antibiotic resistant organisms, specifically MRSA and vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE).

Though only 12 percent of patients in the study had central lines and lumbar drains, because these devices can be an entry point for infections, patients with them accounted for 37 percent of MRSA and VRE clinical cultures and more than half of all bloodstream infections.

The antiseptic product was contributed by Sage Products and MoInlycke. The companies providing product to the trial had no role in the design, conduct, analysis or publication of the ABATE Infection trial.