A recent study aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of incentives built into the Affordable Care Act had some sobering results. It found that hospitals that were penalized for having unacceptably high hospital-acquired infection rates did not subsequently improve in key measures. The penalties were put in place in order to motivate administrators and leaders to prioritize preventing infections, but for the hospitals analyzed in the study, this was not the case.
What these results suggest is that the main hurdle around infection prevention isn’t a lack of awareness or urgency, but rather a lack of strategy and know-how. In other words, it’s not about wanting to prevent infections, it’s about knowing how. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest report on health care-associated infections shows that, in acute care hospitals, central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections and clostridium difficile infections have decreased; however methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia, abdominal hysterectomy surgical site infections (SSIs), colon surgery SSIs and ventilator-associated events have not significantly changed. These findings, along with the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and fungi—which cause more than 2.8 million infections and 35,000 deaths in the United States annually—underscore the need to give health facilities the know-how to fight infection.
“For health facilities to get the know-how to fight infections, they need better processes in place. However there is no single approach that can fit all because each healthcare facility is different and unique,” says Rosie D. Lyles, MD, MHA, MSc, director of clinical affairs at Medline. “That is why regional bundle infection control intervention or quality improvement program works so well. It provides a snapshot of different facilities working together to achieve a common goal: prevent infections. Involving different facilities gives hospitals the information needed to implement optimal programs (including education, effective products and training tools) to maintain over time.”
For example, the CDC is supporting initiatives that focus on decolonization bundles that includes nasal antiseptic swabs and chlorhexidine gluconate bathing. Such an approach was recently found to be effective in Orange County in a variety of hospitals, nursing homes and long-term acute care settings as a solution to the rise of multi-drug resistant organisms.
In addition, Medline offers a range of educational courses on a variety of topics including infection prevention through Medline University. Popular infection prevention courses include The Role of Infection Control in OR Room Turnover.
Learn more about how Medline is advancing the science of infection prevention.