It's the little things in life...

According to the CDC in a 2011 study, "about 75,000 patients" died with from a healthcare-associated infection.  The good news is that this is down from 98,987 in 2002 which is a 25% reduction!  The bad news is that people are dying fromcomplications introduced by the very institutions that are helping them.  To address this problem head on, the Joint Commission (an accreditation institution for hospitals) created the National Patient Safety goals for 2015:

  • Goal 7: "Reduce the risk of health care-associated infections.”  
  • NPSG.07.03.01: "Implement evidence based practices to prevent health care associated infections due to multi drug-resistant organisms in acute care hospitals."

When I read this, I envisioned an Advanced Real Time Location System to track caregivers, patients and equipment throughout the hospital.  A User Interface that colored potentially infected areas where communicable diseases have traveled, similar to the "My Cabbage" episode of the TV Show Scrubs.

I wish I would have seen the lower hanging fruit others found in the Safety goals:

  • NPSG.07.01.01: "Comply with either the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hand hygiene guidelines or the current World Health Organization (WHO) hand hygiene guidelines."

A few years ago, there were a number of whitepapers and studies published on how important hand washing is for clinicians.  There were also a at least five start-ups focused on this issue including big names like MIT and IDEO.

This made me think of a book I read a while ago: All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.  Number eight is "Wash your hands..."