We are fortunate to live in a nation that offers a rich variety of non-profit organizations that support our health and well-being, including groups whose sole focus is to eradicate HAIs. Today's post will explore one of the most important national groups working to end preventable hospital-associated infections, most commonly known as HICPAC.
A seismic shift in human civilization occurred when we learned how to plant and harvest our own food. The advent of agriculture meant access to more plentiful and more reliable food than a hunter-gatherer lifestyle could ever provide. However, as any amateur gardener knows, agriculture also means your whole crop is ready at around the same time. In order to make a crop full of produce last longer, people needed to discover ways to keep their harvest from going bad. Meat could be salted or smoked, fruit could be dried or cooked, but for everything else, there was fermentation. And for fermentation, you need microbiology's Odd Couple.
Florence is about to pummel North and South Carolina. Right behind, Isaac and Helene are brewing. In the Pacific, Olivia is heading to Hawaii, with Paul just behind. Asia is facing Barijat and Mangkhut. Welcome to hurricane season, 2018! Areas facing storms are preparing to weather high winds, heavy rain, and flooding. However, as with all hurricanes of this magnitude, the dangers to life and limb are not limited to the duration of the actual storm- the weeks that follow bring a whole new set of dangerous conditions. Today's post will explore the dangers that involve infectious disease and the overall access to medical care.
Discussions about healthcare often involve the expression "continuum of care." Why is this description becoming more common? What can we learn about the state of healthcare today by unpacking this term? Today's post will explore what is meant by this popular phrase.
Since mankind began using metals, both silver and copper have been used to keep mildew, mold, fungi, and other spoilage at bay. Both metals were even known by the ancients to have anti-infection benefits. We know today that both silver and copper have biocidal properties, and as a result, numerous products have appeared on the marketplace touting these properties as effective in the fight against hospital-acquired infections. Which is the better choice for use in healthcare facilities? To answer this question, we will compare the two metals across 6 criteria over the next series of posts.
Along hundreds of miles of Florida coast, residents - both human and otherwise - are having to contend with an annual event, the Red Tide. In today's post, we'll explore how the coastal contaminant shares many characteristics of a healthcare associated infection.
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.