SCL Researchers Develop Strategies to Reduce HAIs
In the U.S. alone, hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) occur at the rate of approximately two million per year, with one hundred thousand of these leading to death. The suffering, loss of productivity, expenditure of scarce health-care resources, coupled with the rising resistance of many pathogens such as MRSA (shown below), make this issue urgent and important.
One of the challenges of HAIs is that it is difficult and expensive to observe colonization and ascertain whether a patient was infected prior to, or during hospitalization. In addition, the process by which pathogens spread depends on the behavior of patients, health-care workers, visitors and the community at large. SCL researchers Paul Griffin, Ray Hagtvedt, and Pinar Keskinocak have teamed up with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Cook County Hospital in Chicago, and the Centers for Disease Control to design and evaluate possible approaches to reduce HAI including screening, isolation, and improved hygiene approaches. In addition they are working towards quantifying the non-health-care productivity costs that need to be included in any cost-benefit analysis of policies. The researchers are using simulation to model how different strategies may impact rates of HAIs, their costs in the long and short term, as well as the overall interaction between hospitals and the community. The research is being funded in part by the Health Systems Institute.