Other Healthcare Associated Infections Measures

VRE Incidence

What are we measuring and why?

MGH tracks the rate of new hospital-acquired cases of vancomycin-resistant enterococcus, or VRE, which is an antibiotic-resistant bacterium that can cause infections in the urinary track, bloodstream, and wounds. Vulnerable patients include those who have been treated with vancomycin and combinations of other antibiotics, particularly if they were prescribed for a long period of time, as well as individuals with a weakened immune system, surgical wounds, or an invasive device.

How are we doing and how do we compare to best practice?

MGH has been tracking VRE incidence for several years. Our performance for the latest reporting period, October to December 2016, was 0.45 new cases per 1,000 patient days, which was in line with 2015 results. There are no national targets or benchmarks for this safety measure; however, our goal is to sustain improvements and continue to reduce the number of cases.

  • Current Scores
  • Scores Over Time
  • Lower values are better
0.48% 0.45%

MGH Source: MGH Infection Control data
Comparison Group Source: MGH Infection Control data

Oct - Dec 2016 data.

0.37% 0.6% 0.58% 0.38% 0.41% 0.45% 0.53% 0.42% 0.48% 0.48% 0.48% 0.48% 0.48% 0.48% 0.48% 0.48%

MGH Source: MGH Infection Control data
Comparison Group Source: MGH Infection Control data

What are we doing to improve?

MGH's VRE rate has remained comparatively low with regular fluctuation over the past several years. Improvement in hand hygiene compliance has not reduced VRE incidence as substantially as it has for MRSA. Scientific literature suggests that the environment may play a bigger role in the spread of VRE. Thus, we focus reduction efforts on daily cleaning, in addition to general infection control practices:

  • Surveillance systems to track bacterial outbreaks
  • Isolation of infected patients and use of protective garments and other precautionary techniques

What can you do?

Patients and their families can help protect themselves from VRE and other hospital-acquired infections by being vigilant.

Before you allow a clinician to touch you or a family member, ask them whether they have properly cleaned their hands. Don’t be shy about it; it’s your health that is at stake.


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