Despite Increased Monitoring Efforts, Spread of Superbug Still Occurs in Medical Facilities | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Despite Increased Monitoring Efforts, Spread of Superbug Still Occurs in Medical Facilities

March 12, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

While facilities have increased activities to stop the spread of the intestinal superbug Clostridium difficile, those efforts are not yielding large improvements, according to a nationwide survey of infection preventionists released by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

According to the new survey, 70 percent of infection preventionists have adopted additional interventions in their healthcare facilities to address C. difficile infection (CDI) since March 2010, but only 42 percent have seen a decline in their healthcare facility-associated CDI rates during that time period; 43 percent have not seen a decline. While CDI rates have climbed to all-time highs in recent years, few facilities (21 percent of respondents) have added more infection prevention staff to address the problem.  

APIC conducted the 2013 CDI Pace of Progress survey in January 2013 to assess activities that have been implemented in U.S. healthcare facilities in the last three years to prevent and control CDI, a healthcare-associated infection that kills 14,000 Americans each year. A total of 1,087 APIC members completed the survey which was intended to provide a general overview of trends and indicate areas where more in-depth research might be beneficial.

“We are encouraged that many institutions have adopted stronger measures to prevent CDI, but as our survey indicates, more needs to be done to reduce the spread of this infection,” Jennie Mayfield, APIC president-elect and clinical epidemiologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, said in a statement. “We are concerned that staffing levels are not adequate to address the scope of the problem.”

The Pace of Progress survey also noted an inconsistency between cleaning efforts and monitoring. More than nine in 10 respondents (92 percent) have increased the emphasis on environmental cleaning and equipment decontamination practices since March 2010, but 64 percent said they rely on observation, versus more accurate and reliable monitoring technologies to assess cleaning effectiveness. Fourteen percent said that nothing was being done to monitor room cleaning. 

According to the survey, antimicrobial stewardship programs are slowly increasing. Sixty percent of respondents have antimicrobial stewardship programs at their facilities, compared with 52 percent in 2010. Because antimicrobial use is one of the most important risk factors for CDI, stewardship programs that promote judicious use of antimicrobials should be encouraged. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths related to CDI increased 400 percent between 2000 and 2007, due in part to a stronger germ strain. CDI is estimated to add at least $1 billion annually to U.S. healthcare costs.

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

KLAS Research: Small Hospitals’ Buying Decisions Impacting EMR Market Share

A new KLAS Research report tracks shifts in electronic medical record (EMR) vendor market share among acute care hospitals, and finds that smaller hospitals are seeking technology solutions that meet their needs and limited budgets, and these contracts are making a mark on the EMR market.

Survey: Majority of Providers Predict Success for New Generic Drug Company, Project Rx

Back in January, four health systems, in consultation with the VA, announced a collaboration to develop a new, not-for-profit generic drug company. A survey has found that 90 percent of providers say they would become customers of the new venture.

Personalized Medicine Awareness Low Among U.S. Adults, Survey Finds

Genetics and personalized medicine are not top of mind for the general public in the U.S., according to a recent survey from GenomeWeb and the Personalized Medicine Coalition.

Industry Organizations Praise Senate Passage of VA Mission Act

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed, by a vote of 92-5, a major Veterans Affairs (VA) reform bill that includes health IT-related provisions to improve health data exchange between VA healthcare providers and community care providers.

NIH Issues Funding Announcement for All of Us Genomic Research Program

The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) “All of Us” Research Program has issued a funding announcement for genome centers to generate genotype and whole genome sequence data from participants’ biosamples.

MGMA: Physician Compensation Data Illustrates Nationwide PCP Shortage

Primary care physicians’ compensation rose by more than 10 percent over the past five years, representing an increase which is nearly double that of specialty physicians’ compensation over the same period, according to the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).