Central-line infections occur when bacteria or other germs enter the bloodstream through intravenous tubes, or catheters.
An estimated 250,000 of these infections occur in U.S. hospitals each year, even though they're easily prevented.
Rates tend to be higher in surgical intensive-care units, where critically ill trauma patients have to be treated quickly, leaving little time for proper hand-washing and skin disinfection.
Mount Sinai began revising its infection-prevention strategies in 2008, after administrators became aware of the high rate of central-line infections, said Dr. Nancy Glick, acting chair of infection control. The hospital also hired a new infection-control nurse that year to help look into and implement the changes.