Last Saturday concluded Patient Safety Awareness Week but like the members of the APIC would say, every day is for patient safety. One such member and the name sake of this organization's most prestigious award, the Carole DeMille Achievement Award, is the topic of todays' post. As we near the end of women's history month, let's celebrate the infection preventionist in whose honor the award is given, a story that reveals much about the behind-the-scenes progress in the field.
A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Advisory addresses a recent increase in "extensively-drug-resistant" (XDR) Shigella, the strain that caused 5% of cases of shigellosis in 2022, up from 0% in 2015. Antibiotic resistance has been a top priority for years with national and world health organizations, so what sets this particular strain apart? In today's post, we will cover the 5 things you need to know about this strain of Shigella.
In hospitals across the nation, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) monitors are used to test surfaces for the presence of biological contamination. Armed with a swab and a hand-held device, anyone from an Infection Preventionist to an Environmental Services employee can easily sample a surface and quickly get feedback on the presence of organic matter. What many of these thousands of users may not realize, however, is that their ATP monitor works thanks to summer’s favorite insect, the firefly.
In our last post, we explored how adopting a new product can result in some heavy lifting. Not only does product adoption require financial investment, it requires significant investment of time and resources even before the decision is made. Even after the new product is in place, the heavy lifting can continue, especially if the intended users are resistant to change. In today's post, we'll look at the obstacles to adopting new products, even if they are proven to improve patient outcomes or save money. Even if they are considered standard of care.
Medical researchers have recently placed more emphasis on the non-medical conditions that impact patient health and outcomes. Collectively known as social determinants of health (SDOH), these are the conditions surrounding birth, growth, living, working, and aging. The distribution of money, power, and resources play heavily into the formula: Those lacking stable access to any (or all) of these factors see impacts on health, including exposure to and infection by disease-causing pathogens. In today's post, we'll explore the intersection of SDOH and infection control and prevention, and describe some of the ways today's health system is trying to address this issue.
The medical chart is set to become a thing of the past. Those thick folders containing your medical history are steadily being replaced by electronic health records, or EHR. The Veteran's Administration initiated the first large-scale implementation of these computerized files in the 1970s, but the concept was slow to catch on in general practice until the advent of a combination of powerful and affordable hardware, fast and secure internet, and reliable and seemingly endless cloud storage capabilities. Since then, EHR systems have been shown to make physician visits faster, help coordinate care between multiple offices, and improve health outcomes. Can EHR bring the same success to the fight against hospital acquired infections?
Many healthcare concerns will follow us into the new year, some we have carried for decades and some that have become more threatening thanks to the COVID pandemic. Among all the many lists of top concerns, three remain consistent: Staffing shortages, capacity, and healthcare-associated infections. In today's post, we will reveal how reducing healthcare associated infections (HAIs) directly improves patient outcomes, but can can positively impact staffing and capacity as well.
No profession knows more about disease transmission than those working in infection control and prevention. And yet, due to a complex network of issues, professionals in IC have rates of presenteeism - working while sick - that track right alongside every other profession. On average, 80% of professionals in IC report having gone to work while sick. What pressures lead a healthcare professional familiar with the risks involved in disease transmission to go to work while sick?
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.