With new healthcare laws putting pressure on hospitals to cut costs, hospitals are targeting one of the most preventable and deadly problems: hospital acquired infections.
Just being a patient gives you a 5% risk of acquiring an infection, a .25% risk of dying. With a hundred thousand deaths and millions of dollars in costs, stopping the spread of MRSA, pneumonia, and other pathogens benefits everyone.
So, hospitals are taking two steps, and focusing them on the most at risk patients: those in ICU, where immune systems are weakest.
First, they are monitoring and incentivising doctors to wash hands. Surprisingly, rates are only as high as 30%, and sometimes much lower. Coupons, vouchers, cash… video monitoring, electronic chips that “talk” to hand washing stations, secret observers in white coats… anything that gets doctors washing protects patients and lowers costs.
Second, ICU patients are all getting preventative treatments against infection. Antibiotics in the nose, and an anti-microbial bath. It’s cheaper and more effective than testing for patients who are already carrying the diseases that can be so devastating to someone already fighting for their health.
See a theme? Hand washing is a very simple way to cut prevent illness and protect your health, and it’s something that everyone, not just doctors, can take part in.
Share your thoughts in the comments…