Over the past few weeks, firefighters have been working to control massive fires throughout northern California. These are lethal fires, claiming the lives of 7 individuals to date, consuming entire neighborhoods as they grow and spread. All of us have seen the images of destruction, and the headlines capture the urgency of the response teams as they fight to control this powerful force of nature. Those of us in infection control may see in these fires similar traits with an opportunistic pathogen, spreading quickly through a patient's body and leaving destruction in its wake. It turns out this comparison is as old as the science of infection control itself, tracing back to a word coined in the 1800s: Fomites.
Polymerase Chain Reaction, or PCR, allows us to quickly identify a pathogen from a small sample. This rapid identification is a helpful change from traditional culturing methods, which can take several days. In today's post, we will explore how faster identification leads to better patient outcomes.
While prevention is always the goal when it comes to a hospital-acquired infection, rapid diagnosis is essential to better outcomes. The sooner the physician knows which pathogen is causing the infection, the sooner she can prescribe the correct antibiotic. The sooner the medical team can determine if a patient is cleared of infection, the sooner that patient can be removed from isolation. Unfortunately, traditional diagnosing requires samples from the patient be plated and cultured, a process that can take from 16 hours to several weeks. However, a technology exists that allows pathogens to be identified in just a few hours. Over the course of two posts, we will explore the transformative technology of polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, and the impact it is having on hospital infection control.
This fall, some proposed changes in the way hospitals and other healthcare facilities report data to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) may take effect. Many news articles covering these proposed changes seem to indicate that critical public access to this data, specifically, the Hospital Compare website, may stop providing up-to-date HAI statics, or may even cease to exist altogether. While no final rule has been published, we were able to secure a response from CMS about their plans for Hospital Compare. Today's post will present their response.
The world shared a collective sigh of relief as word spread that the last of the trapped Thai soccer team was rescued from their 17-day underground ordeal. After international efforts to find the lost team, the immediate tasks centered on providing the malnourished and weak group with immediate medical care. While plans for their extraction were going full-force, the twelve boys and their coach received food, clean water, and most importantly, oxygen to the tiny rock shelf that had provided shelter as monsoon flood waters rose around them. With the entire group now safely above-ground, it appears the worst of the ordeal is behind them. As the boys recover under quarantine, medical specialists now have the task of determining what, if any, pathogens followed them out of this nightmare. Today’s post will explore some of the infection risks faced by this group as the rescue efforts continue at the patient bedside.
In our previous posts about the Case-Mix Index (CMI), we explored what it conveys and how it is calculated. Today we will look who looks that the CMI and how they use it, including both clinical and financial entities.
Two ingredients make for a perfect environment for pathogens: Warmth and moisture. No season better provides this environment than summer. Just think: Warm days keep our bodies sweaty, swimming in pools or oceans keeps our clothes and skin damp, and outdoor activities expose us to pests, sun, and unrefrigerated food. It's a recipe for happy pathogens and miserable hosts. Read today's post to find out the top summer pathogens and what you can do to avoid them.
In hospitals across the nation, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) monitors are used to test surfaces for the presence of biological contamination. Armed with a swab and a hand-held device, anyone from an Infection Preventionist to an Environmental Services employee can easily sample a surface and quickly get feedback on the presence of organic matter. What many of these thousands of users may not realize, however, is that their ATP monitor works thanks to summer’s favorite insect, the firefly.
Up until recently, the medical community has assumed that the infection rates in endoscopy centers was around 1:1,000,000 - a tiny risk for a beneficial procedure. However, recent research published in the journal Gut reveals that the risk of infection is actually 1-3:1,000, that is, 100x more likely than previously thought. This number goes up to 45-59:1,000 for patients with a recent hospitalization. In today's post, we'll explore what is known about the risk of infection associated with endoscopic procedures, recent outbreaks, and what needs to be done to prevent infections in the future.