Ebola scare, HAI crackdown to boost sales of infection-control software

U.S. hospitals say they're not prepared to treat a deadly infection like Ebola, and while they've put infection-control technology on the back burner, that's quickly changing, according to a survey from Black Book.

Though they admit they haven't actively monitored hospital-associated infection rates effectively due to manual reporting and understaffed coordination, 72 percent of hospital leaders say infection-control (IC) software will move to their "must-have" list for 2015.

A survey of nearly 1,000 hospital executives and clinical leaders in August found:

  • Fewer than half of U.S. hospitals have even one negative pressure isolation room to isolate an Ebola patient.
  • Infection and disease transmission between hospital patients is common. One in 24 hospital patients every day has a hospital-acquired infection (HAI).
  • Less than 8 percent of hospitals conducted emergency preparedness drills for biological disease outbreaks in the past 12 months.
  • Nine out of 10 emergency physicians in hospitals of less than 400 beds believe their hospitals aren't prepared to diagnose, isolate and treat a single Ebola patient.
  • Hospitals have supply problems. Eighty-nine percent of hospital nurses and physicians said that within the past three months, a drug or supply needed for infectious disease patients has not been available.

Hospitals in many states will likely face significant penalties as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services cracks down on them for not preventing HAIs. But until the Ebola outbreak, hospital administrators were more concerned about electronic health records (EHR), interoperability, security and revenue cycle initiatives, according to the survey announcement.

  • Eighty-two percent of those with EHR systems said they delayed purchasing IC software, waiting for their vendors to come up with add-on modules and support
  • Meanwhile, 41 percent of hospitals with more than 150 beds routinely use computerized IC information and real-time surveillance systems, up from 28 percent in 2012
  • Sixty-nine percent of hospitals report they will evaluate IC products for implementation by the second quarter of 2015

To learn more:
- read the survey announcement