On Memorial Day, we remember those men and women who died serving our country as a member of the armed forces. Traditionally, the day is set aside to remember those who died in combat. We add to that tradition today, remembering those who died fighting for our country, even as they lost the battle to war’s deadliest opponent: Disease.
How do you put an economic value on a human life? Why would you ever want to? As difficult as this quantification may be, it is a necessary practice in healthcare when evaluating the efficacy of an intervention, the appropriation of resources, as well as the framing of options for both the individual and a population. Two measures attempt to accomplish this valuation: Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) and Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs). In the next series of posts, we will explore both these measures, and ultimately discuss how they are used in the field of infection control and prevention.
How Can a Healthcare Investment Increase Market Share AND Reduce Cost of Care? Focus on Infection Prevention.
Large-scale healthcare projects, from new projects to renovations, face a challenging future. After the tedious process of securing permits and getting approved plans and even issuing press releases, many of these ambitious projects stall due to financial pressures. Increasingly, healthcare systems may hit the pause button as they take a closer look at cost-benefits, with emphases on expanding market share and reducing cost of care. In today's post, we will look at how a healthcare project can help achieve both goals by focusing on proven infection prevention infrastructure.
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.
In today's healthcare marketplace, it is growing commonplace to consider patients as customers - and the shoe fits, so to speak. Patients do have choices when it comes to medical care, and now have plenty of ratings and data points to consider when selecting a physician, an outpatient center, a hospital or a long-term care facility. One of those data points is patient experience, which encompasses the many interactions with medical staff, facilities, and representatives. In today's post, we will consider the measurable aspects of the patient experience, including infection control and prevention.
One of the most tracked and reported metrics in today's healthcare facilities is infection rates. Anyone working in a hospital is aware of the importance of keeping these rates as low as possible, as they impact not only patient outcomes, but reimbursement rates and facility reputation as well. It may be an assumption by the general public that these rates are an objective metric with little grey area. However, a recent study investigated what infection prevention experts think about these metrics, and the results may surprise you!
No one could question the positive impact vaccines and the immunization they provide have had on global health. The World Health Organization estimates that immunizations prevent the deaths of between 2-3 million people each year - and could prevent an additional 1.5 million deaths if vaccination efforts were more globally available and accepted. Despite being one of the most cost-effective medical interventions, vaccines are still not universally available, especially in the developing world. And yet, even in those countries where vaccines are readily available, many individuals still choose not to be vaccinated. Who is impacted by this choice?
Last week we provided a big-picture overview of the healthcare supply chain, from supplier to patient. This week, we will dig deeper into this process and try to identify places along the supply chain where decisions can impact infection control and prevention. While all hospitals must meet EPA- and FDA-mandated standards for cleanliness and device protocols, there is room for individual choices in how each facility will prepare and respond to pathogens. So where along supply chain are decisions made that influence infection control?
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.
As was the case with many healthcare challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic brought public attention to the issue of the healthcare supply chain. A complex network of supplies, manufacturers, distributors, and procurers spans the globe, navigating trade routes across land and sea, as well from "the cloud" to handheld devices. A complete explanation of the healthcare supply chain is not realistic for a single blog post, but today we will endeavor to give an overview for the folks who may not be aware of the scope of the supply chain that makes sure products are there when you need them. In a future post, we will look at where decisions are made to protect the patient from hospital-associated infections (HAIs).