Cardo:If you ask me what is now different, it's that CMS is part of the solution. It's putting teeth into the process and making prevention a priority. It's not optional anymore. People have to report and people have to prevent.
If we didn't have this, I would be talking with you not in terms of 5,500 hospitals and 6,000 dialysis units, but I would be talking only about 200 hospitals that were motivated to do something.
The more I see infections and other adverse events happening, the more I remind my division that elimination is our goal. We are going to make a difference here, and that's what's happened in the last few years.
We want to know which hospitals have more infections than predicted, and then let's see why and provide assistance. It's not acceptable to keep having infections we know how to prevent.
HLM:What's next for the CDC and the NHSN?
Cardo:We’re releasing something new on antimicrobial resistance in hospitals. We have already have the capability to electronically track antibiotic use from pharmacy electronic records systems. And at the end of July, we're releasing a new module allowing hospitals to electronically capture data on antibiotic resistant strains from clinical laboratories.
As soon as we start receiving data electronically, we want to know how we can extend our ability to collect additional things, like adverse drug events and medication errors. We recently published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, highlighting some medication errors that are more frequent, like insulin prescribing and hypoglycemia. And we're looking at not just hospitals but across healthcare systems and how that information can be shared.
We also have programs for nursing homes, and the capability for them to be reporting in the future; though it's harder for them to start reporting. And we're developing systems for ambulatory surgical centers that capture data on patient outcomes.
There's much more work to be done. As healthcare expands outside of hospitals, infections and antibiotic resistance can be transmitted between facilities.