Clinical trial of CATH TAG: an innovative new device to reduce infections associate with indwelling medical devices

Mrs Shannon Broadrick1, Mrs Wendy Beckingham1

1ACT Health, Garran, Australia.

7% of hospital patients will develop an HAI, many of these infections are associated with indwelling medical devices. To reduce the risk of infection, most hospitals have guidelines recommending removal of indwelling medical devices either at a specified time or as soon as the device is not required. However, complying with these guidelines remains a major challenge for hospitals.

 In the aim of reducing device related infections due to poor compliance the Canberra hospital (CHHS) conducted a short trial to determine if using CATHTAGs would improve compliance with its 72-hour PIVC removal policy. CATHTAG is a disposable electronic timer that prompts clinical staff to remove or review an indwelling medical device after a set time.

 The trial was performed over four weeks in two wards (Ward A and Ward B). Standard point prevalence studies were conducted at the start and the end of the trial period. During the trial, a CATHTAG was placed in the patient’s notes whenever a PIVC was inserted by staff in the two wards.

At the start of the trial, 65% of PIVCs in Ward A and 28% of PIVCs in Ward B had unknown dwell times or dwell times greater than 72 hours. At the end of the trial, this was reduced to 26% in Ward A and 20% in Ward B.

Due to these promising results, CHHS is having further discussions with the manufacturer to commence larger trials that will measure clinical outcomes as well as policy compliance for both PIVCs and urinary catheters.


Shannon is the blood stream infection surveillance officer  in the infection prevention and control department at CHHS. She has completed ‘foundations’ of infection control via the ACIPC. Prior to commencing with the infection control department in 2015 Shannon volunteered on board ‘African mercy’ as an ICU nurse, with skills obtained at the ICU from 2011-2015 at the Canberra hospital and formal postgraduate critical care qualifications from the university of Canberra. Furthermore Shannon is a Flight lieutenant in the royal Australian force as a specialist reserve nurse and holds a certificate 4 in education and training and is currently studying immunization.

Wendy Beckingham is a Clinical Nurse Consultant at the Canberra Hospital ACT and a credentialed Infection Control Professional in Infection Prevention and Control for ACT Health. She has held this position since 1998. Wendy holds a Masters in Nursing Research.

Wendy represents the ACIPC on the Hand Hygiene Committee for Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare. She has also coauthored several papers for journals such as Healthcare Infection and MJA and coauthor on the Mosby Medical dictionary.

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