We consistently receive phone calls complaining about hospital acquired infections that wreak havoc with the lives of patients who become infected. Hospitals tell the public they fight the causes of these infections on a regular basis, but they resist releasing their infection rates so a patient can adequately compare hospitals. So our clients are left with an inadequate understanding of the breadth of an individual hospital’s infection problems.
There are numerous studies on this issue, but a recently released study of Veterans hospitals throughout the United States showed a 62% drop in the rate of infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) following implementation of a series of preventive measures focused on reducing infection rates. These measures included a screening of all patients with nasal swabs, the isolation of positively tested patients for MRSA, and various sanitary related efforts, including gloves, gowns, and handwashing. The testing of all patients by nasal swabs is a bit controversial due to the cost and effort associated with the test, as compared to the benefits retrieved from the effort.
The infection issue has become a part of a nationwide dialogue not only on the cost of healthcare, but the effect of infection on the individual patients. Our firm would encourage all hospitals to redouble their efforts to control and contain the spread of infection in their facilities, and to increase the educational process about the cause and effect of infections.