Regional Collaboration Boosts Infection Control at Hospitals, Study Finds
Infection control efforts would be more successful if hospitals in the same region collaborated to implement similar prevention procedures, according to a study published in the journal Health Affairs, HealthDay reports (Preidt, HealthDay, 10/9).
Methodology Relies on Computer Simulation
For the study, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh conducted a computer simulation using data from 29 hospitals in Orange County, California. Previous research has shown that health facilities in Orange County are highly interconnected because of patient transfers and readmissions to other hospitals.
Bruce Lee -- director of a University of Pittsburgh research group -- said that hospitals "often have their own separate infection control programs and procedures." He added, "However, hospitals are rarely isolated islands and instead share patients extensively with other hospitals in their area, which can facilitate the spread of MRSA infections" (University of Pittsburgh release, 10/9).
The computer simulation modeled the "contact isolation" method to limit methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. Under this model, a hospital screens every patient for MRSA upon admission. If a patient tests positive, the patient is isolated and staff must wear gowns and gloves during all patient interactions.
The simulation explored scenarios in which different combinations of Orange County hospitals used contact isolation to varying degrees.
Researchers found that hospitals that implemented contact isolation saw reduced infection rates -- and so did neighbors that had not implemented the method.
Specifically, implementing contact isolation at an Orange County hospital decreased MRSA prevalence by 11.27% at that hospital and 0.27% at county hospitals not implementing contact isolation (Lee et al., Health Affairs, 10/10)
Moreover, researchers found that, when all hospitals in the county implemented contact isolation with a 75% compliance rate:
- MRSA prevalence at an acute-care hospital decreased 3.85% more than it did when it implemented contact isolation alone; and
- MRSA prevalence at a long-term acute care facility decreased 12.13% more than it did when it implemented it alone.Â
"The more hospitals work together and coordinate infection control efforts, the more they all benefit," Lee concluded (University of Pittsburgh release, 10/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.