31 March 2008

Healthcare-associated infections, the panel

The panel at the Association of Health Care Journalists' annual meeting exploring mandatory reporting of HAIs was very successful (she, the moderator, says modestly). Speakers were:
Notable points from the panelists:
  • Richards: The CDC acknowledges that its collaborators feel the agency took too long to take this issue seriously, but "we're there now."
  • Coyle: Hospitals think a uniform data standard should be set for reporting, so that rankings will be apples-to-apples comparable across the industry.
  • Moss: Victims and families are concerned that healthcare infections have become an industry, and that there is no financial incentive for hospitals to reduce infection rates.
  • McCaughey: HAIs are twice as prevalent as the CDC calculates: Not one out of 20 hospital admissions, but one out of 10. Arguments that infection control is too costly ignore the groundbreaking work done by Carlene Muto et al. at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: Their enhanced surveillance and control of ICU patients achieved a 20-to-1 payback.
Pithy final comment from McCaughey: "We have the knowledge to reduce hospital-acquired infections. What we lack is the will."

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