Definitions of Common Terms

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Acute Care Facility:
A facility/hospital that provides a wide array of specialized medical, surgical, and/or psychological services.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ):
A division of Department of Health and Human Services.
Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs):
Facilities that perform specific procedures in an outpatient (non-hospital) setting.
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A thin, flexible hollow tube. For example, a catheter placed in a vein provides a pathway for giving drugs, nutrients, fluids, or blood products. Other applications include the drainage of fluids such as a urinary catheter.
Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection (CAUTI):
Infection involving any part of the urinary system, including urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidney that is caused by the insertion of a urinary catheter.
Catheter Days:
The total number of days of exposure to the device (catheter) by all of the patients in the selected population during the selected time period.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Central line-associated blood stream infection (CLABSI):
The National Healthcare Safety Network defines a CLABSI as a primary blood stream infection in a patient that had a central line in place, at the time of or within, 48-hours before the development of the bloodstream infection. When a patient gets a bloodstream infection after having a central line put in (or, in the case of a newborn, an umbilical catheter is also a central line) and the bloodstream infection is not related to an infection in another part of the body it’s considered a CLABSI. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 248,000 CLABSIs occur in U.S. hospitals each year. These bloodstream infections often lead to longer hospital stays, higher costs, and an increased risk of dying. CLABSIs can be prevented through proper insertion and care of the central line. Every time a patient gets an infection that meets the definition of a CLABSI, hospitals must report it to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN).
Central line catheter:
A long flexible tube that is inserted near a patient’s heart or into one of the large blood vessel near the heart. A (put picture here) can be used to administer fluids, antibiotics, or medical treatments such as chemotherapy. Central lines are also sometimes called central venous lines, central venous catheters and C-lines.
Central line days:
The total number of days a central line is in place for patients in surgical, intensive care, and certain other hospital units. The count is performed at the same time each day. Each patient with one or more central lines at the time the count is performed is counted as one central line day. For example: Five patients on the first day of the month had one or more central lines in place. Similarly, five patients on day 2, two patients on day 3, five patients on day 4, three patients on day 5, four patients on day 6,; and four patients on day 7 had central lines in place. Adding the number of patients with central lines on day 1 – 7 we would have 5 + 5 + 2 + 5 + 3 + 4 + 4 = 28 central line days for the first week. The number of central line days for the month is simply the sum of the daily counts.
Central Line Utilization Ratio:
This ratio comes from dividing the number of central line-days by the number of patient days. It is sometimes used to monitor appropriate use of central lines.
CLABSI Infection Rate:
To get this rate, we divide the total number of central line-associated bloodstream infections by the number of central line days. That result is then multiplied by 1,000.
Contact isolation:
Designed to prevent transmission of highly transmissible or epidemiologically important infections that do not warrant strict isolation. All diseases included in this category are spread primarily by close or direct contact such as MRSA. Private room is indicated although patients infected with the same organism may share a room. Gowns are indicated if soiling is likely. Gloves are indicated for touching infective material. Hands much be washed after touching the patient or potentially contaminated articles, after removing gloves, and before taking care of another patient. Masks are indicated for those who come close to infants and young children with respiratory infections and if splashing of fluids may occur. Articles contaminated with infective material should be discarded in appropriately labeled bags or containers.
Easily spread from one person to another or from one part of the body to another; able to be spread from person to person or living object to nonliving object to living object (such as person to doorknob to person).
To make impure, infected, corrupt, etc, by contact with or addition of something; to pollute something. When a foreign material invades another material, either intentionally, by accident, or as a consequence of another set of actions. Cross contamination is where someone or something that is already contaminated transfers the contamination to another person or object.
Critical Access Hospital (CAH):
A small, generally geographically remote facility that provides outpatient and inpatient hospital services to people in rural areas. The designation was established by law, for special payments under the Medicare program. To be designated as a CAH, a hospital must be located in a rural area, provide 24-hour emergency services; have an average length-of-stay for its patients of 96 hours or less; be located more than 35 miles (or more than 15 miles in areas with mountainous terrain) from the nearest hospital or be designated by its State as a "necessary provider". Hospitals may have no more than 25 beds.
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This is the number of people (population) who are potentially capable of experiencing the event or outcome of interest. The denominator, along with the numerator, is used to calculate rates. The denominator is the bottom half of a fraction.
Dialysis facility:
An out-patient facility where dialysis is given to people with end stage kidney disease.
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The study of the cases in a certain place or time and their patterns, such as number of cases of measles in a small town or a whole country. Epidemiology also studies the ages of people or events, causes of the event or disease.
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Health care-associated infection (HAI):
Health care-associated infections are infections that patients acquire during the course of receiving treatment for other conditions within a health care setting. For an infection to qualify as an HAI, there must be no evidence that it was present or incubating at the time of hospital admission.
HAI Prevention Collaborative:
A group of facilities that are engaged in an effort to improve an outcome, in this case to reduce HAIs. Members of the collaborative use common but not necessarily identical approaches. The group members discuss progress regularly and share lessons learned in real time so that others in the group can benefit from the experience of each facility.
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ICD-10-CM (sometimes referred to as just ICD-10) stands for the "International Classification of Diseases - 10th revision - Clinical Modification." All diagnoses (or conditions) and all procedures that patients receive in the hospital are assigned an ICD-10-CM code. The coding and terminology provide a uniform language that permits consistent communication on claim forms.
A hospital unit staffed and equipped to provide intensive care.
An infection is a harmful colonization of the body by a foreign species (e.g. viruses, bacteria, parasites, etc.).
Infection control:
The ways healthcare providers use to prevent infections with the uses of handwashing, gown, gloves, masks, special cleaning products and not allowing certain people with contagious diseases to have contact with others that may cause the person to become ill or the ill person to be sicker.
Infection Rate:
An infection rate is the number of infections reported in a specified period of time divided by the number of exposures to an infection during the same specified period of time.
Inpatient Quality Indicators (IQI):
The IQIs are a set of measures that can be used with hospital inpatient discharge data to provide a perspective on quality. The IQIs include a variety of indicators, which are measured at the provider, hospital, or area level. Additional information can be found at:
Invasive Procedures:
Surgeries and other procedures such as colonoscopy or spinal injections. Ambulatory Surgery Centers report the total number of procedures that are completed in a year.
Separation of a patient or resident from direct contact with other residents; to prevent full or limited contact and interaction with other patients or residents to prevent the spread of a communicable disease or to prevent exposure to potential pathogens.
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Knee Replacements, Total or Partial:
Knee replacement surgery (arthroplasty) is an elective procedure for people with severe knee damage and pain related to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and traumatic arthritis. A total knee replacement involves removing the damaged cartilage and bone from the surface of the knee joint and replacing them with a man-made surface of metal and plastic. A partial knee replacement involves replacing only part of the knee joint.
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A law or rule issued by a state or federal government agency about the way a public issue is to be carried out. (e.g., A facility must report healthcare-associated infections to NHSN).
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA):
MRSA causes a staph infection (pronounced "staff infection") that is resistant to several common antibiotics. There are two types of infection. Hospital-associated MRSA happens to people in healthcare settings. Community-associated MRSA happens to people who have close skin-to-skin contact with others, such as athletes involved in football and wrestling.
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National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN):
The data reporting system that Texas hospitals must use to send HAI reports to DSHS. NHSN is a secure, internet-based surveillance (monitoring and reporting) system. Among other features, the network offers integrated patient and healthcare worker safety surveillance systems. The NHSN is managed by the CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. Hospitals submit specific infection and procedural information to NHSN that is needed to calculate infection rates for each procedure. Hospitals must assign rights to DSHS to collect the data from NHSN so that the information can be reported to the public.
NICU (neonatal intensive care unit):
An intensive care unit designed with special equipment to care for premature or seriously ill newborns.
Originating or taking place in a hospital.
The number of individuals who actually experience the event or outcome of interest. The numerator, along with the denominator, is used to calculate rates. The numerator is the top half of a fraction.
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Patient Days:
The number of total days that all the hospital patients are in the hospital in a specified period of time
Patient Safety:
Ways to keep patients safe from infection, the spread of infection, and from an adverse event.
Bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi that can cause disease; a specific causative agent of a disease such as bacterium or a virus.
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can cause mild to severe illness in people of all ages. Signs of pneumonia can include coughing, fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, rapid breathing or shortness of breath, chills, or chest pain. Certain people are more likely to become ill with pneumonia. This includes adults 65 years of age or older and children younger than 5 years of age. People younger than 64 years of age who have underlying medical conditions (like diabetes or HIV/AIDS) and people 19 through 64 who smoke cigarettes or have asthma are also at increased risk for getting pneumonia.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
Clothing or devices worn to help isolate or shield a person from direct exposure to a infectious or hazardous material or situation. Includes gowns, gloves, masks, helmets, safety goggles, hearing protectors, face shields, respirators, arm guards, smocks, and safety boots.
Preventable Adverse Event (PAE):
An event that results in harm to the patient because something went wrong or should have been done while the patient was being cared for. Texas law requires general hospitals and surgery centers to report certain events to DSHS.
A written set of rules to follow.
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Standardized Infection Ratio (SIR) Statistical Method:
The SIR is a number that compares the number of Health Care –Associated Infections (HAI) that occur in a facility to a predicted number of infections based on historical data and risk adjusted. A SIR is the number of observed infections divided by the number of expected infections. A SIR of 1.0 means the observed number of infections is equal to the number of expected infections. A SIR above 1.0 means that the infection rate is higher than that found in the "standard population”. A SIR below 1.0 means that the infection rate is lower than that found in the "standard population”. For HAI reports, the standard population comes from data reported by the hundreds of U.S. hospitals that use the NHSN system.
Standard Precautions/Universal Precautions:
Precautions used on all patients in a medical facility that involve “protection as needed” to implement infection control and to protect the medical team and the residents from microorganisms and body fluids that may carry disease.
Strict Isolation:
Designed to prevent transmission of highly contagious or virulent infections that may be spread by air or contact, such as for chickenpox and viral hemorrhagic fevers. A private room is required and gowns, masks, and gloves must be worn before entry. Hands must be washed after leaving the room and contaminated articles should be discarded or bagged and labeled before being sent for decontamination and reprocessing.
Surgical Site Infection (SSI):
SSIs are infections that occur as the result of surgical procedures.
SSI Rate:
Surgical site infection rates per 100 operative procedures are found by dividing the number of SSIs by the number of total number of specific operative procedures within a given reporting period. The results are then multiplied by 100. These calculations are performed separately for each type of surgical procedure.
A process for ongoing monitoring of information (data) about a specific topic, problem, or disease (such as healthcare-associated infections) where data is gathered, analyzed, and interpreted. Surveillance data are often used to identify areas for improvement, guide actions to improve the quality of healthcare delivery, and monitor whether those interventions result in better outcomes.
Accident, misfortune or a feeling that is noticed by a person and is not normal.
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Texas Healthcare Safety Network (TxHSN):
The data reporting system that Texas hospitals and Ambulatory Surgery Centers must use to send PAE reports to DSHS. TxHSN is a secure, internet-based program.
To cause spread of germs.
Urinary catheter:
A flexible tube that is inserted through the urethra and into the bladder to drain urine from the bladder into a bag or container.
Machine that is used to help a patient breathe by giving oxygen through a tube placed in a patient’s mouth or nose, or through a hole in the front of the neck.
Ventilator-Associated Event (VAE):
Lung infection that develops in a person who is on a ventilator.