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Title
WakeMed Executive Wins Healthcare Administrator Award for Support of Infection Control Initiatives - Archived
Date
10/16/2009
Article
RALEIGH, N.C. (October 16, 2009) – WakeMed Health & Hospitals is pleased to announce
Deborah Friberg, chief operating officer and executive vice president, has been named the recipient of the first annual Healthcare Administrator Award, presented by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). The award recognizes a health care facility’s executive team member who has demonstrated significant support for infection prevention and control throughout their facility.

“We are proud to honor Deb with this award,” said APIC 2009 president Christine J. Nutty, RN, MSN, CIC. “Her support has been integral to the success of WakeMed’s infection prevention and control program. She has provided funding for research studies related to infection prevention and participated in state and national infection prevention collaboratives. She has also supported the addition of patient care products that while more expensive than those previously used, have been proven to help prevent infections. Not only does she provide both administrative and financial support to help the staff set and meet ambitious goals, but she also sets standards for physicians and employees by publicly displaying her commitment to infection prevention during interactions throughout the facility.”

During her 14 years of leadership at WakeMed, an 810-bed not-for-profit system based in Raleigh, the infection prevention department has grown from a staff of two to a staff of seven and has become much more visible within the organization. Despite challenging economic times, Friberg recently approved the purchase of an electronic infection surveillance system to improve data collection and reduce staff time spent on surveillance and clerical tasks. Automated surveillance offers a more efficient and accurate means of obtaining healthcare-associated infection data and allows infection preventionists to improve prevention practices.

Recognizing that Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are a major threat to their patients, Friberg has committed her time as the executive sponsor for MRSA reduction and leads the organization’s participation in a three-year collaborative with 41 other hospitals. As a result, the system’s MRSA rates have decreased by 54 percent since the project began in 2006. She also approved requests to begin active surveillance culturing to obtain quicker MRSA test results. Within two months of active surveillance screening and interventions that included strict hand hygiene and enhanced environmental cleaning, the facility eliminated MRSA transmission in their neonatal unit. The program was expanded to the adult trauma unit which has had no MRSA infections for more than a year.

When WakeMed infection preventionists wanted to study chlorhexidine bathing for surgical intensive care unit patients, Friberg approved the funding. Within three months, these measures reduced catheter-related blood stream infections by 74 percent. She also supported a project to place personal protective equipment at the point-of-use for healthcare workers along with significant funding to purchase rolling cabinets to house the equipment.

Hand hygiene compliance is another priority for Friberg. Under her leadership, hand hygiene has been added as a component of every employee’s performance evaluation in addition to being named the organization’s number one patient safety standard. The result: hand hygiene compliance rates have risen to 90 percent or better since January 2009.

Friberg was honored during an APIC ceremony commemorating International Infection Prevention Week, (IIPW), held on October 16 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, where APIC is headquartered. APIC members throughout the world viewed the program via live Webcast. In receiving the award, Friberg was presented with a commemorative plaque and funding for educational products for her institution.

About Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology
APIC’s mission is to improve health and patient safety by reducing risks of infection and other adverse outcomes. The association’s more than 12,000 members direct infection prevention programs that save lives and improve the bottom line for hospitals and other healthcare facilities around the globe. To promote a culture within healthcare where targeting zero healthcare-associated infections is fully embraced, APIC has created the “Targeting Zero” initiative to accelerate both learning and delivery of practical tools for infection preventionists. APIC advances its mission through education, research, collaboration, practice guidance, public policy and credentialing. Visit APIC online at www.apic.org. For consumer-related information, visit www.preventinfection.org.

About WakeMed Health & Hospitals
WakeMed Health & Hospitals, one of the first hospital systems in the country, is a private, not-for-profit health care organization based in Raleigh, N.C. The 870-bed system comprises a network of health care facilities throughout Wake and Johnston Counties, including: a Level I Trauma Center and tertiary referral hospital and rehabilitation hospital in Raleigh, a community hospital in Cary, comprehensive outpatient centers and freestanding emergency departments in North Raleigh and Apex, seven outpatient rehabilitation sites, two skilled-nursing and outpatient facilities, a 100+-physician multispecialty practice, and home health services. The system includes accredited Chest Pain Centers and Joint Commission-certified Stroke Centers. Throughout the system, there are an additional 60 beds under construction and 41 newly approved by the state. WakeMed also provides management services for Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital in Dunn, NC. Centers of excellence include cardiac and vascular care, women’s and children’s services, physical rehab, emergency and trauma, orthopaedics, neurosciences, home care and numerous wellness and community outreach programs. WakeMed’s team of 7,750 employees, including but not limited to nurses, technologists and medical support staff, 1000 volunteers and more than 1,000 affiliated physicians serve the residents of North Carolina using the most advanced technologies and facilities to ensure the finest in health care.