Erica Mitchell

Recent Posts

New Years' Resolutions and Hand Hygiene: How To Make Changes Last

by Erica Mitchell | January 19 2022

Today may not actually be "the saddest day in the year," but chances are, those of us who made New Years' resolutions may be starting to see some cracks in our willpower. Any change in behavior, from exercising more to, say, washing your hands more, represents a personal struggle of transformation that does not happen easily. In today's post, we'll look at some of the recent research on making those resolutions last and apply them to the leading behavioral obstacle that results in healthcare associated infections: Hand hygiene.

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10 Post-COVID Furniture Trends for Healthcare

by Erica Mitchell | January 14 2022

During a time when hospitals are under unimaginable stresses from a global pandemic, thinking about furniture choices might seem frivolous. However, despite the ongoing surge in COVID-19, hospitals must be built, renovated, and and expanded. And a huge part of those construction projects is selecting the furniture that will serve the patients, their families, and the staff. Today we look at what will influence those decisions in the coming year, including infection prevention.

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National Pharmacist Day: Impact on Infection Control

by Erica Mitchell | January 12 2022

Pharmacists are an essential part of a medical team. While many people believe the pharmacist only dispenses medication, their impact on healthcare is far more significant. Hospital pharmacists, for example, can be responsible for making purchasing decisions, monitoring drug therapy, preparing IV medication, and overseeing drug administration. It is this last responsibility that has the greatest impact on infection control: The hospital pharmacists can play a significant role in antibiotic stewardship, one of the key components of reducing dangerous infections.

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Why Are Pediatric Hospitalizations for COVID-19 Increasing?

by Erica Mitchell | January 7 2022

While the Omicron variant sweeps the nation, now making up 95% of new cases, troubling statistics are emerging about a rise in pediatric hospitalizations due to COVID-19. Before Christmas, there were approximately 2,000 children nationwide hospitalized for complications due to COVID-19. Just two weeks later, that number has jumped to 4,000. What is the cause for this surge in young patients with COVID-19? In today's post, we'll explore the leading theories and end with some predictions for the coming months.

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Why are R01 NIH Grants Such a Big Deal?

by Erica Mitchell | January 5 2022

The National Institutes of Health is the largest public funder of biomedical research around the globe. This support has led to life-saving treatments as well as an ever-growing body of research that paves the way for future breakthroughs. NIH funding comes in the form of grants, of which there are dozens of types. In today's post, we'll look at just one type of grant and why it is so important to research in infection control and prevention.

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What is Fidelity in Research?

by Erica Mitchell | December 29 2021

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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Internal and External Validity

by Erica Mitchell | December 22 2021

Not all scientific studies are created equal. Some studies are well-designed, with results that stand up to the intense scrutiny, analysis, and replication demanded by the scientific method. On the other hand, some studies are designed poorly, resulting in conclusions that can be called into question or that are not supported by the data. In this post, we explore two of the major ways that scientific studies are evaluated, giving you some tools to help in your own evaluation of the caliber of research studies.

The two aspects of research quality we will discuss today are internal validity and external validity. First, let’s consider the word validity. A study is considered valid - from the Latin word for 'strong' -  if it is strongly supported by facts and logic. In terms of scientific research, to have valid conclusions, a study must have a valid design. This brings us to internal validity.

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Global Health Funding Channels

by Erica Mitchell | December 16 2021

A young woman sits in a clinic halfway around the world, waiting for her COVID-19 vaccine. The entities involved in getting that vaccine to her, all the way from its development, manufacture, and distribution, relies on a massive global health network. In today's post, we'll highlight just some of those steps, learning about how global health is funded and implemented along the way.

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Evidence Hierarchy: From The Laboratory to Reduced HAIs

by Erica Mitchell | December 15 2021

What happens after laboratory tests confirm that an environmental product kills bacteria? Is that the end of the line for testing a product's efficacy? One pair of researchers say no. Here is their proposal for an evidence hierarchy that describes how, in theory, data can begin to connect a product to a reduction in HAIs. While many regulatory agencies exist to protect the consumer by ensuring that HAI reduction claims are true, it is important for us to still be aware of the burden of proof in research, and how that plays out in a laboratory and real-life setting.

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Science By Design: Types of Research Study Designs

by Erica Mitchell | December 8 2021

The scientific method demands that researchers follow logical steps in their process to ensure that results are definitive. Without following these steps, including the proper design of experiments, the resulting data is not reliable. Over time, the research establishment has determined certain types of experimental designs, their advantages and disadvantages, as well as which type of design is appropriate for certain fields or contexts. Today we’ll get an overview of the types of experimental designs and how they impact the research conducted in healthcare infection control.

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