Heroes of APIC: Combining Patient Safety with Advocacy & Influence

Recorded On: 02/13/2019

IP Competency: Novice, Proficient, Expert

Duration: 60 minutes      Available through: 12/31/2021

Presentation #1: Engaging Multi-Disciplinary Expertise to Generate Sustained Improvements

By fully leveraging expertise from multiple departments, the infection prevention team at Excela Health effectively tackled rising Clostridium difficile (C. diff) rates at their three-hospital system.

When a steadily rising C. diff infection (CDI) rate led Excela Health leadership to establish an internal target for reducing or eliminating the infection, the infection prevention team welcomed the creation of an interprofessional team to help improve patient safety. The system’s continuous improvement team leveraged LEAN methodology to bring everyone together and achieve their goals. “We knew we needed a broad range of expertise to achieve our goals and the LEAN facilitator really helped us stay on track,” Deborah Schotting said. 

Excela Health’s CDI LEAN team created a comprehensive campaign focused on early identification and prevention of C. diff infections through appropriate testing, physician education, isolation/safety zone precautions, antibiotic stewardship, environmental cleaning, and staff and patient awareness. In addition to participation from nursing, pharmacy, laboratory, and environmental services departments, the Excela Health marketing and communications department created instrumental tools, team members educated nurses about documentation and process, and the system librarian identified key evidence-based resources. In just over two years, the system achieved a 43.8 percent reduction in healthcare-associated C. diff infections.

Presentation #2: Collaboration and Creativity Generate Dramatic CAUTI Reduction

The Infection Prevention and Control Team at University of Louisville Hospital developed a program emphasizing continual education, awareness, collaboration, and fun to reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) at their facility.

The team had made some progress in CAUTI prevention, but “we really wanted to hit a tipping point that would enable us to sustain progress,” Sarah Bishop said. This desire led to a facility-wide 2017 CAUTI-reduction goal. The team created a multi-dimensional campaign comprising quality improvement, education initiatives, and creativity to promote reduction of indwelling urinary catheter usage and increase adherence to a nurse-driven removal protocol.

Throughout the campaign, the team emphasized collaboration and relationship-building across departments. Ultimately, the team’s creativity and passion generated a 34 percent decrease in CAUTI. Continual education, including through nursing orientation and preceptorships, is helping to ensure they’ve reached their “tipping point.”


BD is pleased to support the APIC Heroes of Infection Prevention Program and the outstanding and essential work of the Heroes honorees in the field of infection prevention.

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JoAnn Grote, BS, MT(ASCP)

Excela Health, Greensburg, PA

JoAnn Grote has been a registered medical technologist since 1971. She received her BS in medical technology from St. Francis College in Loretto, PA in PA in 1970 and graduated from Benedum School of Medical Technology at Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA in 1970. She has worked at Latrobe Hospital for 48 years. In that time, she was the program director of Latrobe Area Hospital School of Medical Technology from 1992 – 2000.

Deborah Schotting, RN, MSN, CIC

Excela Health, Greensburg, PA

Deborah Schotting has been a registered nurse since 1981. She graduated from Waynesburg University with a MS in nursing after graduating from Carlow University with a BS in nursing. She is currently a RN in critical care working in the Med-Surg and critical care units. Additionally, she works as an educator for staff development, a system nurse recruiter, and as an IPC practitioner since 2008.

Crystal Heishman, MSN, RN, ONC, CIC, FAPIC

University of Louisville Hospital, Louisville, Kentucky

Crystal Heishman is an Infection Preventionist at University of Louisville Hospital. She has a Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management and a Master of Science in Nursing from Western Governors University.  She holds a Fellow of APIC (FAPIC) designation and is certified in orthopedic nursing and infection control.

Leah Oppy, MPH

University of Louisville Hospital, Louisville, Kentucky

Leah Oppy is an Infection Preventionist at the University of Louisville Hospital. She has a Masters of Public Health from University of Louisville. She specializes in data analytics and process improvement.

LaShawn Scott, MSN/Ed, RN, CCRN-K

University of Louisville Hospital, Louisville, Kentucky

LaShawn Scott is an Infection Preventionist at the University of Louisville Hospital. She has a Masters of Science in Nursing with a focus in education. She is certified in critical care.

Sarah Bishop, MSN, APRN, CCNS, CIC

University of Louisville Hospital, Louisville, Kentucky

Sarah Bishop is the Director of Infection Prevention and Control at the University of Louisville Hospital. She has a bachelor of science in nursing from University of Louisville Hospital and a masters of science in nursing from Vanderbilt University. She has certifications as a critical care clinical nurse specialist and infection control.

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02/13/2019 at 1:00 PM (EST)   |  60 minutes
02/13/2019 at 1:00 PM (EST)   |  60 minutes
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