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.
The Council for Outbreak Response: HAIs and Antimicrobial-Resistant Pathogens (CORHA) is made up of representatives from the nation's largest public health agencies. Here are those agencies:
The mission of CORHA is improved policies at all levels to improve detection, investigation, control, and prevention of HAI/AR outbreaks in all healthcare facilities by building capacity.Through dedicated workgroups, CORHA members identify standard definitions, best practices, and policy directions that can then be adopted and implemented by individual facilities and public health agencies.
CORHA has developed several tools that can help a facility improve outbreak response. They produce fact sheets, research, and abstracts to help facilities become more familiar with known and emerging pathogens, as well as guidelines, templates and checklists that can help during outbreak events. Training and multimedia materials can also help experienced infection preventionists pass on knowledge to new personnel, ensuring smooth continuation of procedures and policies.
More than just a clearinghouse of resources, CORHA has also undertaken original research to reveal where additional capacity is required. One such study assessed how well public health departments and healthcare organizations use technology to detect potential outbreaks, finding an immediate need for better access to data as well as software infrastructure. Other original research produced condition- or event-specific tools for identifying and investigating outbreaks.
Finally, CORHA offers a Response Activity Tracking System, intended for large public health departments, facilities or systems to use for recording not only outbreaks, but how they responded to and resolved them. The result is an internal database that can be referenced for internal tracking as well as if information sharing is needed.
CORHA is currently evolving from a policy-making council to a more practical forum for the healthcare community. In the future, they hope to also address issues of medical product investigations, drug diversion, and patient notification/public disclosure. But with all these dedicated organizations involved, we can already see helpful resources making a difference in the field.