Where Innovation Meets Prevention: HAI Prevention ResearchPosted on by
Author – John Jernigan, M.D.CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion
In recent weeks, we have witnessed some encouraging progress in preventing healthcare associated MRSA infections in the US, mainly through better implementation of existing prevention recommendations. While this is certainly a cause for celebration, there is still a long way to go.
This is where prevention research comes in. We need to increase our arsenal of weapons if we hope to get close to the goal of eliminating HAIs. There could be new and effective strategies out there remaining to be discovered. These will remain hidden to us unless we explore novel approaches to HAI prevention, and translate the findings into evidence-based guidelines.
That’s why CDC engages in and funds HAI prevention research. CDC’s Prevention Epicenter Program supports efforts to develop and test innovative approaches to reducing infections in healthcare settings. One example of how CDC’s investment in HAI prevention research helped develop a promising new strategy is the use of a skin antiseptic in routine bathing of patients to prevent HAIs. CDC-funded investigators at Cook County Hospital and Rush University Medical School hypothesized that bathing patients daily with a skin antiseptic would decrease the burden of the germs on the patient’s skin, and indirectly decrease contamination of the environment of healthcare personnel (HCP) hands, and thus decrease transmission of pathogens.
CDC-funded studies went on to show that daily chlorhexadine (CHG) bathing can significantly reduce contamination of patient’s skin, the environment, and HCP hands, with organisms such as MRSA and VRE. Reductions in spread of MRSA and VRE have been documented using this strategy, and there at least two separate studies showing reduction in bloodstream infections. It is also encouraging that the experience to date suggests this strategy is simple for hospitals to implement and is well tolerated by patients. The CDC Prevention Epicenter Program has made possible two separate randomized controlled trials to further examine this promising approach to preventing HAIs. We look forward to the results of those studies.
Is your facility involved in prevention research?
- Page last reviewed:November 18, 2016
- Page last updated:November 18, 2016
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