Erica Mitchell

Recent Posts

The Role of the Industrial Hygienist in Healthcare

by Erica Mitchell | June 28 2019

Who obsesses over the safety of a community's environment? Who knows all the building codes, chemical exposure limits, and fire retardant additives by heart? Who walks through a built space and can identify potential risks from air quality, radiation, ergonomics, violence, and stress without batting an eye? Why, it's the industrial hygienist, of course! Today we will explore this profession and its role in keeping us healthy and safe.

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3 Major Innovations on the Long Road to Hospital Infection Control

by Erica Mitchell | June 21 2019

We know a lot (or actually most) of our posts about infection and hospitals can be terrifying. But here's some good news: A least you don't live in the time before antibiotics and infection control!

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How do Germs Spread?

by Erica Mitchell | June 14 2019

Germ theory, the idea that infection is caused by microscopic organisms unseen to the naked eye, is only a few hundred years old. This theory focuses on three main components.

  1. The reservoir: The person, animal, or surface that carries the infection.
  2. The mode of transmission: Via direct contact, a droplet of liquid, airborne, a vector (such as an insect), or a vehicle (food or surface)
  3. The susceptible host: A person and his/her ports of entry (nose, mouth, incision, medical device, wound)

But the paths from the reservoir to the susceptible host seem infinite. To narrow down the steps needed to prove this relationship between contaminated rooms and infected patients, researchers have proposed routes of transmission that could account for a relationship. Here are two proposals, both of which demonstrate the critical role played by surfaces in the transmission of pathogens.

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DNV GL Certification in Infection Prevention: Mitigating Risk on the High Seas and in Hospitals

by Erica Mitchell | June 9 2019

There are many ways a hospital can be assured that it is performing well. They can conduct internal assessments of patient outcomes, look at patient surveys, and consider staff feedback. They can also get outside opinions from organizations whose sole purpose is to evaluate hospitals using national standards. Releasing the results of both internal and external evaluations enable transparency in healthcare, benefiting both the facility and the consumer. In today's post, we'll explore one of the more recent organizations that accredits hospitals, DNV GL.

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What is Fidelity in Research?

by Erica Mitchell | June 2 2019

We have all heard about validity and reliability in research. Validity tells us that your results actually measure what you wanted to measure. Reliability means your results can be consistently reproduced. But before either of those two attributes of research can be considered, there is fidelity: Did you conduct your research as planned? In today's post, we'll explore the lesser-known member of this research quality triumvirate.

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Construction, Renovation, and Infection Prevention

by Erica Mitchell | May 24 2019

So much of the success of infection control and prevention teams is the establishment of routines that promote best practices: Easy-to-access hand hygiene stations, checklists, terminal cleaning protocols, and a built environment that supports a lower bioburden all work together to help reduce transmission of pathogens. Disruptions to those routines open gaps where opportunistic microorganisms can sneak in and wreak havoc. While some of those disruptions can be avoided, there is a predictable, massive disruption facing all healthcare facilities: Renovation and construction projects. Today's post will explore some of the threats introduced by construction projects and what the facility can do to minimize HAIs.

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5 Design Updates to Make Sinks Safer

by Erica Mitchell | May 17 2019

Our efforts to reduce hospital acquired infections (HAIs) may have hit a challenging conundrum. On the one hand, we know that handwashing is essential to break the chain of transmission from infected (or colonized) host to vulnerable patient. On the other hand, one of the key tools in facilitating handwashing has been recently demonstrated to play a role in transmitting pathogens. That tool? The sink. Many think sinks are beginning to tip the balance toward doing more harm than good.

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What is the ARLAB Network?

by Erica Mitchell | May 10 2019

As a response to the growing global and national threat of antibiotic resistance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established a network of labs whose sole mission is to help detect, prevent, contain and respond to outbreaks of antibiotic resistant pathogens. Today's post will explore this mission and how it is implemented.

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What is CORHA?

by Erica Mitchell | May 3 2019

There are many organizations that support healthcare facilities facing an outbreak. State and local public health departments, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and many others all play a role in helping hospitals handle outbreak scenarios. In today's post, we'll explore the organization that brings them all together: CORHA.

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What is the Microbiome?

by Erica Mitchell | April 21 2019

One of the fastest-growing research sectors is the investigation of the human microbiome. We read articles about using the microbiome to keep us healthy and even to cure us from disease. What is the microbiome? In today’s post, we’ll explore this invisible but essential part of our existence.

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© EOS Surfaces and EOScu Blog, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to EOS Surfaces and EOScu Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.