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How to Deal With Pathogenic Microorganisms on Stethoscopes?

“Stethoscopes can take part in the transmission of health care-associated infections. We cultured 112 stethoscopes by direct imprint on blood agar to estimate the prevalence of potentially pathogenic microorganisms. Forty-eight (47%) produced 50 potentially pathogenic microorganisms; from these, 43 (86%) were Staphylococcus aureus, of which 18 (42%) were methicillin-resistant S. aureus. We concluded that stethoscopes should be considered as potential fomites and must be disinfected routinely before and after each patient contact.”

The above quote was taken from a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control on October 31, 2013, reminding us of all of the ways germs can be transmitted within the hospital. Just like a physician’s neck tie, lab coat, and blood pressure cuff, we know there are many common items in healthcare facilities that are capable of easily transmitting harmful bacteria. Instead of trying to wipe each item down with a disinfectant cloth, we have a better recommendation. By placing your stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, cell phone, keys, thermometer, pens, etc., into this mobile uv light station for 60 seconds, you can protect yourself and those around you from over 300 dangerous germs. UV Flash disinfecting system has shown a 100% kill rate on C. difficile, staphylococcus aureus, and acinetobacter baumanni in just 60 seconds.

This simple and effective disinfection solution saves healthcare workers from dealing with messy chemicals or spending too much time on disinfection. Just place the items inside, shut the door, and press start. The UV Flash is recommended for waiting rooms, clinics, lobbies, medical offices, nursing stations, ICU’s and more. See the proof.

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APIC-Greater Detroit Spring Program 2012

Once again it was great to attend the Spring APIC Program.  It was well organized and received by its membership.  Renowned speakers such as Gina Pugliese RN, MS, Vice President, Safety Institute, Premier Healthcare Alliance presented a startling presentation demonstrating just how far backwards some of our practices have gone in a misguided attempt for cost containment.  Examples of reusing syringes, attempting to pull more doses from single use vials and the resulting spread of such pathogens as Hepatitis-C, HIV, and a spike in Hepatitis B being reported and under investigation across the country.

Another remarkable speaker from Spain was Inam Soria, PhD.  She was an enthusiastic expert in the field of Research.  She made “Evidence Based Infection Prevention” entirely engaging!  She focused on outcomes and helped us to understand and describe at least 4 types of clinical study designs; critically evaluate clinical data and extract relevant information to a particular practice.

It was a day of connecting with old friends and new; education and a time to share our current experiences together in the effort to improve quality of care and reduce infections.

Notes from Sam Hickson, Midbrook Medical Healthcare Network Director:

“The APIC – Greater Detroit Spring Conference offered a myriad of products and information designed to address the needs and desires of the attendees to enhance their own positions within the healthcare spectrum by providing knowledge and tools to help reduce the scourge of healthcare acquired infections (HAIs), which are so prevalent in healthcare settings these days. Vendors presented their products with scores of devices and methodologies designed to attack infections and issues of disinfection quandaries in their individual niches.

Presentations at the conference ranged from methods of evaluating research to providing wellness tips for the busy professional.  Of particular interest was a presentation provided by Mark Stibich, PhD revolving around “Automated Approaches to environmental Disinfection.” This particular subject is also a focus of Midbrook Medical. Automation of disinfection and sterilization processes is a must for the future of the healthcare industry as a whole. Reduction and elimination of HAI’s will ultimately only be achieved by the design and implementation of automated processes. Removal of the human factor (not oversight) will produce valid and reliable results in this essential sphere of healthcare. Reduction of human errors will necessarily play a large role in the future of infection control.”

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From Barbary to a Future Free of Hospital Acquired Infections

If you walk through the unmarked hallways in the historic Bulfinch Building within Massachusetts General Hospital you might stumble upon the Ether Dome. This room served as the operating room 1821 through 1867. In 1846 the first public demonstration of the use of inhaled ether as a surgical anesthetic was performed here.

It was a miraculous moment entering a new world without surgical pain. One can still feel the intensity within those walls of the amphitheater; conjuring up the images and sounds of patients prior to anesthesia – enduring amputations and other procedures while fully conscious.

During the Summer of Fear in 1945 Rockford, Illinois suffered the highest number of casualties amidst the great polio epidemic. In a four month period, 382 patients were treated in Winnebago County, 36 died, most of them children. Children were isolated and not allowed to swim or play. Schools were closed, Iron Lung machines were brought in and planes flew over Rockford, spraying the city with the insecticide DDT in an attempt to wipe out the polio “bug.” No one really knew how to prevent or cure polio, or what caused it.

It was later discovered that polio is caused by a contagious virus that spreads by direct contact with contaminated saliva or feces. The disease has essentially been eradicated in the United States since a childhood vaccine was introduced in 1955 by Dr. Jonas Salk and perfected in 1961 by Dr. Albert Sabin.

What are today’s medical breakthroughs? Who can be spared from the current threats to healthcare issues? Could it be the threat within our own hospitals, clinics, Long Term Care Facilities and Out Patient Surgical Centers in the form of Hospital Acquired Infections? It is time we implement available technology to address a devastation that is preventable. By developing and utilizing products that can reduce or eradicate the transmission of infectious organisms within the healthcare setting we are on the verge of such a breakthrough.  The technology is within our grasp. The remaining challenge is to change our processes and our cultural ideas of what is acceptable.

On March 14, 2012 Experts from the National Patient Safety Foundation addressed a group of Hospital Executives. The group was focused on the relationship between quality outcomes and operating an efficient facility.

During an address to the forum, John Nance, a founding member of the National Patient Safety Foundation, “encouraged hospital leaders to avoid what he considered the “most dangerous phrase in health care”“that’s the way we’ve always done this.”

Even though we can be ‘asleep’ when our surgeries are being performed with excellent professionals and protected airways…are we safe?

One day we will look back at the rate of Hospital Acquired Infections we experience today and wonder why we ‘sprayed the OR’ with chemicals that do not kill certain pathogens and the over use of antibiotics which have a direct correlation to the rise in Multi Drug Resistant Pathogens…only time will tell how our future will be written.  Anti-microbial Stewardship, new products to eliminate the threat of danger from HAI’s?  What new discoveries will we make?

Visit our website at midbrookmedical.com  Take a glimpse into products available “Today”… Please do your part to help bring these technologies into the norm and, in doing so, create a new chapter in the reality of safe medical care.


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