Healthcare associated infections (HAIs) are responsible for the deaths of more than 85,000 Americans each year. This is the stat widely cited by infection control professionals and technology providers. While this is the most accurate figure we have, it is also quite elusive. This figure accounts for only those HAI related deaths that are transparently reported by public health organizations. However, what about the deaths that are not reported by public health organizations? According to a recent Reuters Investigation, these uncounted casualties may be in the tens of thousands.
While the industry has cited significant progress in reducing HAI cases, Reuters’ report calls into question just how impactful the progress has been. As the age old saying goes, “The first step in solving a problem is recognizing there is one.” In other words, without understanding the true nature of the problem at hand, we can never fully address it. Said differently, if tens of thousands of lives go unreported, how can we accurately quantify our progress in protecting them? The short answer is what we can’t.
While the highest HAI-associated cost is the loss of human life, which is irreplaceable and immeasurable, this is not the only cost. Reuters goes on to highlight the toll that HAIs take on hospital employees and their devastating impact on cost of care, including unreimbursed medications and surgeries that weigh down the U.S. healthcare system.
In order to protect the uncounted, our focus must be two-fold.
We must first address the systematic problem of inaccurate measurement. While public reporting lags behind, hospitals can take accurately quantifying HAIs into their own hands. This involves educating patients on how to identify and report signs of an HAI, maniacally counting HAIs internally and working together at a macro-level to sharpen our standards for measurement and reporting. Accurate measurement is just as important when it comes to prevention. Healthcare providers pursuing whole room disinfection strategies should methodically document their prevention efforts and regimens.
Second, we must uphold a zero tolerance policy for HAI-causing spores in the healthcare environment. A zero tolerance policy is the only way to protect the uncounted victims of HAIs. After all, zero percent of any number of patients is still zero. By working to eliminate HAIs from happening, we can prevent those cases that are known and unknown. Ultimately, if we are able to eliminate HAIs altogether, inaccurate measurement will no longer be a concern.
At Halosil, our sights are set on eliminating HAIs from happening. The Halo Disinfection System® is the most cost effective solution EPA-validated to kill 99.9999% of C.difficile spores, even in areas beyond the reach of UV or manual methods. The Halo Disinfection System pairs this industry-leading effectiveness with a low cost of ownership and operation—providing the most comprehensive value to hospitals and health systems of all sizes.
In a world where HAI figures are suspect, a zero tolerance policy is the one thing we can count on. Are you ready to uphold a zero tolerance policy for harmful HAIs? Contact Halosil today.