The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), just released a new guide for hospitals to use when preparing for and containing outbreaks. This document helps hospital epidemiologists respond to community outbreaks of infectious diseases as a part of their Outbreak Response Training Program. With this document in mind, we thought it was a good time to review the biggest outbreaks of 2017, the kinds of outbreaks this document is intended to help mitigate.
The medical chart is set to become a thing of the past. Those thick folders containing your medical history are steadily being replaced by electronic health records, or EHR. The Veteran's Administration initiated the first large-scale implementation of these computerized files in the 1970s, but the concept was slow to catch on in general practice until the advent of a combination of powerful and affordable hardware, fast and secure internet, and reliable and seemingly endless cloud storage capabilities. Since then, EHR systems have been shown to make physician visits faster, help coordinate care between multiple offices, and improve health outcomes. Can EHR bring the same success to the fight against hospital acquired infections?