WEDNESDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Systems that remind hospital staff when to remove catheters from patients can reduce the rate of catheter-associated urinary tract infections by 52 percent, a new study has found.

Catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) is the most common hospital-acquired infection, researchers from the University of Michigan pointed out.

There are many types of reminder systems for catheter removal, including stickers placed on charts or catheter bags. The new study looked at the use of computer-generated reminders that appear when a nurse or doctor logs onto a patient's chart online.

"We are also excited about the potential for reminder systems to have a cascade of benefits to patients beyond prevention of CAUTI, because reducing catheter use can improve patient comfort, reduce bloodstream infections, reduce need for antibiotics, improve patient mobility and decrease length of [hospital] stay," lead author Dr. Jennifer Meddings, a clinical lecturer in the internal medicine department, said in a University of Michigan news release.

"Because catheter reminders and stop orders are beneficial regardless of the technology used -- from verbal bedside reminders to computer-generated stop orders -- these interventions appear to be low-cost strategies that could be implemented in any health care system," Meddings and her colleagues explained.

The study was released online July 29 in advance of publication in the September print issue of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about catheter-associated urinary tract infection.