New technology can help prevent hospital nosocomial infections

Hospitals could reduce nosocomial infections by using new technology, such as alarms for scheduled filter changes or pressurized mats in front of hand-washing areas to make sure employees spend enough time at the sink, to help staff comply with healthcare regulations, according to a scientific poster presented at the American Public Health Association 141st Annual Meeting, Medscape reported.

The technology can serve as an extra reminder, especially because even the most thorough infection-prevention guidelines are only as good as the people who are supposed to follow them, Verteena Phillips, a graduate student at the Rutgers School of Public Health in New Brunswick, N.J., told Medscape.

Phillips and her team analyzed 10 studies that looked at the best nosocomial infection-prevention practices. They found that the direction of airflow, the temperature and relative humidity of the air at healthcare facilities are important aspects of preventing infections. Most healthcare facilities adhere to the recommendation that there be a minimum of six complete air exchanges per hour, with at least two involving outside air, according to the article.

Hand hygiene is also key to infection prevention, and a lack of hand washing caused 40 percent of nosocomial infections in a 2005 study of European hospitals. To help combat lax hygiene practices and system shortfalls, the team recommended that hospitals hold infection prevention and hand-hygiene training sessions twice a year and implement new technologies to assist in the process.

Hospitals are also using robots and other IT devices to prevent infections. New biosensors, created by mixing bacteriophages and specific antibiodies, have the potential to detect antiobiotic resistance in bacteria, which hospitals can use to disinfect facilities as well as clinicians treating patients, FierceHealthIT previously reported. There's also a robot that uses ultraviolet radiation to sterilize and kill germs, which allowed one hospital in Massachusetts to reduce C. diff by almost 70 percent, and four hospitals in North Carolina lower Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections by 35 percent.

To learn more:
- here's the Medscape article

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