October 19, 2010

Harrington HealthCare Wins Grant in 3M Innovation Contest

SOUTHBRIDGE, Mass., October 19, 2010 - Harrington HealthCare System has been selected as one of five runners-up in the 3M "Innovation Award" contest. As a result, the healthcare organization will receive a $1,000 educational grant from 3M to continue its innovative initiative on infection prevention.

Harrington won the award by attracting online votes for a hospital-produced video on the dangers of a new strain of the disease C. Difficile. Unlike earlier strains of the disease, the latest variety can be deadly. In winning the award, Harrington competed against much larger hospitals from around the country. Harrington's entry received more than 2,000 votes during a two-week public voting phase.

Harrington's video, in which employees and volunteers dress up in costumes and play roles as different diseases, was developed by Nurse Practitioner Heather Briere, of the Webster Harrington Physician Services office; Sue Valentine, Harrington's Infection Prevention Director; Joseph Menard, a Harrington volunteer; Deborah Hermann, a Housekeeper at Harrington; and Ann Beaudry, a Nurse Manager in Obstetrics and Pediatrics. Also assisting in development of the video were Nursing Director Cathy Montigny, Patient Care Assistant Craig Langevin, and Judy Lowe, an R.N.

Briere, who shot and edited the video, said she hopes the grant money will help reduce the number of healthcare-associated infections of C. Difficile in the area.

"The new strain of C. Difficile, unlike the earlier strain, is not just a nuisance but it's really a killer," Briere said. "My mother-in-law died from an infection of C. Diff. It's a horrible thing for a family to have to go through, so it'd like to be able to prevent that from happening to somebody else."

Harrington received support in publicizing its entry from the state Department of Public Health, the Massachusetts Coalition for Prevention of Medical Errors, the offices of State Sen. Richard T. Moore and State Rep. Paul Kujawski as well as Harrington employees.

"We congratulate Harrington for showing its creative and educational approach to fighting healthcare-associated infections and encourage other hospitals across the country to consider replicating their best practice," said Debra Recthenwald, President and General Manager of 3M's Infection Prevention Division.

Fourteen finalists met all eligibility requirements and participated in public voting to determine the winner and runners up. More than 36,000 votes were cast throughout the two week voting period. To view Harrington's submission, along with the other finalists, please visit: www.3mhaicontest.com.

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are among the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S., responsible for approximately 100,000 deaths a year - more than mortality from AIDS, breast cancer and auto accidents combined. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDD) estimates overall annual direct medical costs of HAIs to U.S. hospitals range from $28.4 billion to $45 billion. The benefits of prevention range from a low of $5.7 billion (20 percent of infections preventable) to a high of $31.5 billion (70 percent of infections preventable).


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