Home News Briefs New consensus on preventing infections

New consensus on preventing infections

November 2008

Published in the November 2008 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

Hospitalist leader honored as “Physician Entrepreneur of the Year”

Adam Singer, MD, the chief executive officer and chief medical officer of IPC The Hospitalist Company and one of hospital medicine’s pioneers, has received the first-ever Physician Entrepreneur of the Year award given by Modern Physician, which is published by Modern Healthcare magazine.

Dr. Singer, who is on the editorial board of Today’s Hospitalist, was chosen from a field of 28 nominees. Criteria for the award included having an MD or DO; either owning or managing a business related to health care; and demonstrating the financial or market success of that business. A profile of Dr. Singer and a podcast interview with him appear on the Modern Physician Web site.

Dr. Singer helped launch IPC in 1995. Earlier this year, the company became the first publicly traded hospital medicine company. IPC has more than 800 hospitalists working in more than 300 facilities in 18 states. IPC, which uses a private practice business model, has its own integrated information technology and practice management system.

Groups offer consensus on preventing hospital-acquired infections

The nation’s leading epidemiological societies joined forces last month to publish a compendium of guidelines designed to prevent six potentially deadly health care-acquired infections.

The guidelines include strategies to prevent the following infections: central line-associated bloodstream infections; ventilator-associated pneumonia; surgical site infections; methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA); Clostridium difficile; and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (UTIs). (For more on UTI prevention, see "UTIs: no longer another cost of doing business".) The compendium was published in the Oct. 8 issue of Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology. Sponsoring organizations included the Infectious Diseases Society of American, the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America, and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

According to the CDC, treatment costs for hospital infections are as high as $20 billion a year. While the guidelines do not vary significantly from those previously published, authors said the new guidelines repackage the information in a more concise form. The compendium also highlights strategies that hospitals should not follow in infection prevention.

Support grows for extending tPA window

According to an industry-sponsored trial, administering alteplase thrombolytic therapy (tPA) between three and four-and-a-half hours after stroke onset significantly improved clinical outcomes. Currently, tPA is approved for use only within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms.

The research was published in the Sept. 25 New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers found that patients given tPA were more likely to have favorable outcomes, including low disability scores at day 90 post-stroke. While more intracranial hemorrhage did occur within the group receiving tPA, mortality rates did not differ from the placebo arm.

An accompanying editorial pointed out that the study results do not justify delaying tPA treatment, echoing the authors’ view that “early treatment remains essential” and that “door-to-needle time” should be as brief as possible. Authors also noted that the number needed to treat to have a favorable outcome within the extended time window was 14.

More hospitals opt for alternative therapies

A recent survey from the American Hospital Association (AHA) found that the number of U.S. hospitals offering patients some type of alternative medicine therapy rose 40% since 2005.

According to survey results published in September, 37% of hospitals now offer patients some form of alternative therapy, up from 26.5%.

The No. 1 alternative therapy offered in hospitals is massage, according to the AHA. Other types of alternative therapy include acupuncture, chiropractic and homeopathic programs, diet and lifestyle change counseling, and herbal medicine.

Survey results indicate that 84% of hospitals that offered some form of alternative therapy cited patient demand as the rationale for launching a therapeutic program. Among respondents, 67% cited “clinical effectiveness” as the reason for starting a program.

Hospitals in the South were the most likely to offer alternative therapies, followed by those in the Northeast and the MidAtlantic regions. The majority of hospitals offering alternative therapies were urban (72%) and of medium size, with between 100 and 299 beds.