Jan 20, 2014 • 26M

What's Being Done in the Clinical Practice Setting to Reduce the Spread of Infection: A Conversation with Anthony Harris (January 23rd)

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Appears in this episode

David Introcaso, Ph.D.
Podcast interviews with health policy experts on timely subjects. The Healthcare Policy Podcast website features audio interviews with healthcare policy experts on timely topics. An online public forum routinely presenting expert healthcare policy analysis and comment is lacking. While other healthcare policy website programming exists, these typically present vested interest viewpoints or do not combine informed policy analysis with political insight or acumen. Since healthcare policy issues are typically complex, clear, reasoned, dispassionate discussion is required. These podcasts will attempt to fill this void. Among other topics this podcast will address: •Implementation of the Affordable Care Act •Other federal Medicare and state Medicaid health care issues •Federal health care regulatory oversight, moreover CMS and the FDA •Healthcare research •Private sector healthcare delivery reforms including access, reimbursement and quality issues •Public health issues including the social determinates of health Listeners are welcomed to share their program comments and suggest programming ideas. Comments made by the interviewees are strictly their own and do not represent those of their affiliated organization/s.
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(This podcast is a companion to the November 13th interview with Infectious Diseases Society of America's Amanda Jezek.)  

As previously noted, conservative estimates show hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) alone sicken two million Americans, directly kill 23,000 and contribute to a total of 100,000 deaths each year.  The bacterial infection C. diff (Clostridium difficile) alone causes 250,000 people to be hospitalized annually.  The US has some one of the highest infection resistant rates among developed countries and within the US infection rates are highly variable.     

During this 25 minute conversation Dr. Anthony Harris discusses why comparatively US infection resistance rates are high, why hand hygiene compliance rates remain persistently high (despite the fact hand contamination contributes substantially the the spread of infections), what acute care providers can do to reduce infections, what activites SHEA is pursuing to help reduce infection rates and what more can be done nationally, specifically regarding quality metrics, to lower rates. 

Dr. Anthony Harris is currently a Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Maryland's School of Medicine and is the President-Elect of SHEA.  His research interests include emerging pathogens, antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, hospital epidemiology/infection control, epidemiologic methods in infectious diseases and medical informatics.  He has published over 100 research papers and currently receives funding from the NIH, CDC and AHRQ to study antibiotic resistant infections and hospital epidemiology.  Dr. Harris received his medical degree from McGill Univesity and his MPH from Harvard. 

For information on SHEA's compendium of strategies to prevent health care associated infections see:  http://www.shea-online.org/HAITopics/CompendiumofStrategiestoPreventHAIs.aspx

For information on SHEA's research network of 200 hospitals see:  http://www.shea-online.org/Research/SHEAResearchNetwork/SRNStudiesandResources.aspx