…  that is the question- at least when it comes to whether to take standard measures to decolonize intensive care patients with antibiotic ointments in their nose to remove Staphylococcus bugs.  Hospital associated infections are a critical public health and healthcare cost problem.  While we’re losing ground in our fight against obesity- we’re making progress toward reducing healthcare associated infections both here in AZ and across the country. 

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine this week found that that “universal decolonization” of intensive care patients can reduce MRSA infections by up to 37% and other  bloodstream infections by 44%.  This was a big study (about 74,000 patients in 43 hospitals), meaning that these results carry a fair amount of statistical weight.  This study will provide additional information to the infectious disease practitioners in AZ as they craft and implement hospital infection control plans. 

We’re making it a priority to prevent hospital associated infections by maintaining our HAI Program and by licensing and inspecting healthcare facilities across the state.  We also facilitate a multidisciplinary HAI Advisory Committee that identifies and addresses priority areas for Arizona.  This dedicated group of partners has collaborated continuously since 2009 to coordinate prevention efforts across the state. The partnerships and open dialogue help us improve surveillance, report and prevent hospital associated infections, which support our Strategic Map goal of reducing healthcare associated infections and re-admissions.