Nursing Homes and Infection Control

by Erica Mitchell | May 18 2017

This week, the Wall Street Journal addressed the growing concern over infection control in America's nursing homes, citing research from a recent paper from the Columbia School of Nursing. The article summarizes the four key obstacles to effective infection control in nursing homes: Overuse of antibiotics, inadequate staff/training, lack of resources, and a lack of data/surveillance. In the next series of posts, we will explore the nursing home landscape, investigating the origin of and solution to each of those four obstacles. Today we will start with an overview of nursing homes.

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The Veterans Health Administration: A National Leader in HAI Reduction

by Erica Mitchell | May 12 2017

Despite recent controversies about the quality of care in VA hospitals, the network of 163 acute care hospitals and over 1,000 outpatient clinics is actually a national leader when it comes to many treatments and outcomes. Due to incidents of patient harm stemming from, among other issues, prolonged wait times for procedures, the VA instituted a rigorous self-evaluation as well as evaluation from outside experts. The results pointed to changes needed for improvement, but also revealed successes and positive outcomes where the VA exceeds private sector he  alth care. One of those areas is in infection control, and today's post will explore how the VA achieved a leadership role in this area.

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3 Keys to Measuring the Cost-Effectiveness of an HAI Reduction Intervention: Part 3

by Erica Mitchell | May 5 2017

Measuring the cost-effectiveness of an infection prevention intervention requires careful translation of complex issues into dollar values: The problems, the possible solutions, the methods of evaluation, and the desired outcomes. The result is a calculation that measures whether or not the costs associated with an intervention are outweighed by the benefits gained by that intervention. Today we will delve into the big ideas behind that final calculation.

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3 Keys to Measuring the Cost-Effectiveness of an HAI Reduction Intervention: Part 2

by Erica Mitchell | April 28 2017

When considering an infection prevention intervention, how should the costs calculated? The first question should be what costs should be calculated? With the myriad of direct, indirect, and intangiable costs related to HAIs, where is a facility to start? There are several types of costs to be taken into consideration, and each type will come from different sources. In this post, we will explore how a facility may collect cost data when evaluating a potential new infection intervention.

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3 Keys to Measuring the Cost Effectiveness of an HAI Reduction Intervention

by Erica Mitchell | April 14 2017

Any time a healthcare facility considers investing in a new intervention - a medicine, a device, a piece of equipment, and even a training program - one of the first considerations will be cost effectiveness. The facility has a responsibility, both financial and ethical, to weigh the cost of investment with the likelihood and extent of patient benefits. We would all love to live in a world where hospitals could invest in any and all interventions without thought as to cost and return on investment. Instead, we face a reality in which not only are financial resources limited, but also personnel, space, and even time are constrained. As a result, when millions of dollars and patients' lives are at stake, calculating cost effectiveness of an intervention has a lot on the line.

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Medicare Reimbursement and Hospital-Acquired Infections: A Costly Connection

by Erica Mitchell | April 7 2017

The most recent list of hospitals being penalized by Medicare for patient safety incidents has been published, so we thought it would be a good time to explore the whole issue of Medicare reimbursements, penalties, and safety programs.

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The Dirt on Garden Bacteria

by Erica Mitchell | March 24 2017

As winter ends and spring begins to arrive (and stay), many of us will find ourselves elbow-deep in soil, getting our gardens ready for the season. While we are selecting our annuals, clearing out weeds, and picking out our vegetable plants, there is an army of workers already at work in our gardens: Bacteria. Billions and billions in one handful, these microscopic organisms are performing essential actions that enables us to grow a beautiful garden and grow nutritious food. Today we will explore these unseen workers and how, depending on where they are, they can be either life-sustaining or life-threatening.

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Patient Safety Awareness Week 2017

by Erica Mitchell | March 15 2017

March 12 - 18, 2017 is Patient Safety Awareness Week, an annual education and awareness campaign for health care safety led by the National Patient Safety Foundation. Here are links to some of the excellent resources health care facilities created to participate in this important community project.

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International Women's Day: Healthcare Edition

by Erica Mitchell | March 8 2017

Today is International Women's Day, a day celebrating women's achievements and bringing attention to gender parity in the workforce. In different forms, it has been observed since the early 1900s, with the first major event being a march in New York City in 1908 calling for better pay and voting rights for women. In 1977, the United Nations adopted a resolution for member nations to celebrate women's rights and achievements on a day of their choice, and started setting an annual theme in 1996. In the United States, March was named Women's History Month in 2011 by President Barak Obama on the 100 year centenary of International Women Day. In honor of today's celebrations and calls for action, today's post will explore the issues of gender parity in healthcare professions.

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Black History Month: 5 Health Care Highlights

by Erica Mitchell | February 22 2017

The history of African-Americans health care is replete with stories of both tragedy and triumph. From the horrific conditions of slavery, through the centuries leading to the Civil Rights Era, to today's freedoms and hopes, our nation has been formed and transformed by our shared experiences. Today's post shares just a few of those experiences that focus on health care. Join us as we explore how extraordinary challenges and obstacles impacted both access to health care and opportunity in health care professions, and how the work continues today to achieve equality.
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