Survey: Economy has caused infection prevention reduction

A new survey conducted by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology concluded that many hospitals have had to cut back on various infection prevention measures due to recent budget cuts, Healthcare Finance News reports. Almost half of the close to 2,000 facilities surveyed were forced to spend less on equipment, staff and education, while 40 percent of the hospitals were forced to lay off employees or cut back their hours.

APIC President Christine Nutty is worried that, as the nation's infection problems continue to grow, this could become a serious problem.

"We are concerned by these findings," she told Healthcare Finance News. "Every healthcare facility must have the resources to identify infections, conduct a systematic investigation to determine the cause and implement and evaluate prevention measures."

The survey also determined that two-thirds of the hospitals that responded had one or no full-time staffers to only work on infection prevention. Only 20 percent had data mining programs to help fix infection problems in real time; 90 percent, meanwhile, had either no staff person at all or no full-time staff member available for analytic support, which worries APIC CEO Kathy Ware.

"Infection prevention departments at our nation's healthcare facilities are severely understaffed and under-resourced," Ware told Healthcare Finance News. "Without enough trained professionals, funding and high-tech solutions that speed access to infection-related data, we are not going to continue to make progress in eliminating preventable infections."

For more:
- read this Healthcare Finance News article