The Rich benefits of Investing in Infection Control and Prevention.
From the face of it, infection prevention has long been touted to be the most accessible weapon of the masses to fight off Hospital acquired infections, for rather obvious reasons. Prevention has always been better and cheaper than cure. Back in 2013, WHO warned that the rate of HAI prevalence is 7.6% in developed and 10% in developing countries the majority of which could be lowered by adopting appropriate practices and protocols around antibiotic stewardship and evidence-based prevention measures. While much improvement has been made since, today as global citizens, we are still a long way in our journey to dispensing safer medical care without the looming burden of HAIs.
Infection prevention is classically practiced through creating a well-defined position (Infection Control Prevention Director) at the institution to oversee policy and monitor infection control practices. That individual, supported by a team of infection control nurses have been the traditional gatekeepers of an ICU workflow charged with keeping the rate of HAIs low. However, the trove of ICU data is rendered obsolete when tasked with deriving actionable insights and evidence-based measures. Also challenging is the analysis of multiple key indicators of infection care including possible root causes of infection, device associated infection rate, changes in local infectious disease epidemiology and community wide resistance patterns.
Such deficiencies can only be addressed by a uniform and scalable approach to infection management, especially one that is offered as an accessible software tool. One that is capable of consolidating data from the ICU and aid its various stakeholders in deploying the best in care to their patients. While clear benefits for the average ICU patient will be reaped from this approach, the task of deploying a new product into often over saturated hospital workflows can seem daunting. However, institutions can engage in detailed assessment of the return on such investment by comparative analysis of the cost of extended care and expensive last line antibiotic treatments for HAI infections. Along with objective fiduciary benefits, one cannot minimize the subjective loss of reputation from failure of infection control, further incentivizing the active role and importance of such measures in multispecialty health care institutions. Particularly in the developing world, as populations grow and age-related medical interventions rise and medical tourism has reached unprecedented levels of growth, hospitals must prepare to service their future patients at a higher standard of care than that is available today. Care with the goal of having zero preventable HAIs. One that can be achieved through thorough adoption of infection control and prevention platforms.
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