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MRSA Meets its Match in Certified Infection Preventionists

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, March 14, 2012

Hospitals use dozens of practices to prevent hospital-acquired infections, but those facilities that employed infection preventionists who met certification requirements saw the least number of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections in their patients, according to a study of California hospitals with at least 100 beds.

The 2010 survey, conducted by three researchers at the Columbia University School of Nursing in New York, received survey responses from 203 out of 331 hospitals surveyed, each of which was asked about their infection control practices. The 24 methods ranged from screening all patients upon admission to the use of isolation and contact precautions and antibiotic restriction. 

Other strategies included participation in Institute for Healthcare Improvement programs, having an electronic surveillance system, and participation in CHART, the voluntary California Hospital Assessment and Reporting Taskforce. California hospitals are required by state law to report bloodstream and Clostridium difficile infections to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Healthcare Safety Network.

Though "few infection control policies were shown to be significant predictors of infection rates in our study," the authors wrote, "having an infection control director who was certified in infection control was a significant independent predictor of lower MRSA BSI rates."  The authors said that 91 of those 203 hospitals provided information on their MRSA infections.

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