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Fighting Hospital Acquired Infections Through Social Media

Blogger William Heisel at Antidote wants to give credit where credit is due regarding the fight against hospital-associated infection (HAI).

So he has expanded his “Immunity Map” to include hospitals which have been innovative in their efforts to curb the spread of superbugs.

Previously, the map’s sole purpose was to track infections as they are reported, based on certain criteria aimed at protecting the public. Now Heisel has taken the suggestion of readers to include institutions which have either responded to infection problems exceedingly well, or those which have come up with innovative ways to fight infection spread.


“If you see a hospital, clinic, nursing home or other entity on the Herd Immunity map, and you have proof that they made substantial changes as a result of the infection, send me a note, and I’ll post it to the map.

All in all, the map is innovative in its own way because it is using social media to join the fight.  According to Heisel, many state governments aren’t reporting HAI events publicly and neither is the federal government. But the power of the internet has been demonstrated over and over again as a vehicle for change, and this could be another great example.

So here are three candidates for the Immunity Map:

Methodist Health System, San Antonio, TX no longer assigns a bed to any patient unless the “isolation & type” fields are addressed in their computerized capacity management system. The reason for this is that once those fields are assigned, everyone who needs to know is alerted automatically of the room block and patient condition. This avoids “inadvertent” exposure to the workers who travel most widely through the hospitals – housekeepers and transporters –who often enter blocked rooms without prior warning and can become “carriers.”

The University of Virginia Medical Center, which folded infection control nurses into the patient flow loop and gave them sole responsibility for filling in isolation indicators in UVA’s automated patient flow system (for the same problem of “inadvertent” exposure to support workers).

Hunterdon Medical Center, which according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, now compliments the usual patient room visual cleaning inspection in favor of random swabs of about 300 surfaces a month to determine how effective room cleans have become. The medical center also asked doctors to avoid prescribing the antibiotic Cipro because it kills “good” germs which fight C. diff infections, and added special cleaning agents to blocked room cleans along with germ-killing ultraviolet light and special software to track new outbreaks.

TeleTracking, which produces the automated patient flow software that distributes early warning infection alerts, applauds William Heisel and every hospital that takes HAIs seriously.  The cost is too great, especially in human lives, for this problem to be ignored.

 

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