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Research Study Areas

Prevention Epicenter investigators perform a number of research studies across a wide spectrum of topics relevant to the prevention of HAIs. This section summarizes work by topic area. Selected publications can be viewed here.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE), and other multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens

Prevention Epicenter investigators’ activities include:

  • Measuring the impact of bathing patients with skin antiseptics on a daily basis to prevent patient-to-patient transmission of MRSA and other pathogens.
  • Monitoring short- and long-term clinical consequences of acquisition of MRSA in the healthcare setting.
  • Identifying efficient methods for identifying MRSA carriers at the time of admission as a means to initiate appropriate infection control precautions more promptly and efficiently.
  • Identifying best strategies for measuring MRSA and VRE transmission in healthcare settings as a tool for hospitals to measure the effectiveness of their efforts to prevent the spread of MRSA and VRE within their facility.
  • Identifying efficient strategies to measure antimicrobial use utilizing electronic records as a means for hospitals to record the effectiveness of efforts to optimize antimicrobial use, which is a major contributor to the spread of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) within healthcare facilities.
  • Recognizing factors that contribute to MRSA and VRE transmission within healthcare facilities and identifying previously unrecognized factors can help inform new and more effective prevention strategies.
  • Employing electronic monitoring tools to detect increases in MDRO transmission within healthcare facilities.
  • Conducting a multicenter, randomized trial that compares three different strategies of preventing MRSA transmission and infection among intensive care unit patients and helps define the role of decolonization strategies in preventing MDRO transmission and infection.
  • Studying MRSA transmission between healthcare facilities in a region, which 1) helps define how movement of patients between facilities within a region contributes to the MDRO problem and 2) may lead to novel prevention strategies that are focused not only on individual facilities but across the entire spectrum of healthcare delivery in a region.
  • Measuring the impact of legislative infection control mandates on the rates of MRSA colonization and infection.
  • Measuring the burden of Klebsiella pneumoniae Carbapenemase (KPC)-producing Enterobacteriaceae colonization among adult intensive-care unit patients within the 26-hospital regional consortium. 

Bloodstream Infection (BSI)

Prevention Epicenter investigators’ activities include:

  • Measuring the impact of bathing of patients with skin antiseptics on a daily basis to prevent bloodstream infections.
  • Identifying novel methods for detecting bloodstream infections by using electronic data systems, which will improve accuracy of reporting while greatly reducing the personnel time necessary for collecting the data (leaving more time to devote to prevention efforts).
  • Gaining a better understanding of the bloodstream infection burden that is related to healthcare, which may not occur during hospitalization, and for which there are no established prevention strategies.

Surgical Site Infection (SSI)

Prevention Epicenter investigators’ activities include:

  • Improving methods for detecting and measuring surgical site infections, which will help standardize methods by which hospitals and other surgical settings identify patients who develop infections following surgical procedures, and will deliver interfacility comparison of SSI rates that will be more meaningful and helpful in measuring the effectiveness of prevention programs within individual facilities.
  • Investigating the use of national administrative claims databases in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to create measures that identify hospitals with surgical site infection rates that are unusually high or unusually low, which is helpful in identifying hospitals that may need assistance with their infection prevention programs as well as best practices from hospitals with very low rates.

Ventilator-associated Pneumonia (VAP)

Prevention Epicenter investigators’ activities include:

Working to identify more efficient and effective ways to measure adverse effects of mechanical ventilation. This will be a powerful prevention tool, as one of the greatest barriers to prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is the complexity involved in creating measures that adequately reflect the effectiveness of prevention programs.

Clostridium difficile (C. difficile or CDI)

Prevention Epicenter investigators’ activities include:

  • Validating strategies for detecting CDI that minimize the burden of data collection for healthcare personnel and allow measurement of infection rates across a large number of facilities.
  • Leading a state-based prevention collaborative involving 61 hospitals in an effort to better define the preventability of CDI and identify effective prevention strategies.

Catheter-associated Urinary Tract Infection (CAUTI)

Prevention Epicenter investigators’ activities include:

  • Studying the use of data from electronic medical records to generate automated alerts (for clinicians) that identify patients who may have an unnecessary urinary catheter in place. This methodology could serve as a powerful prevention tool since the single most important strategy for preventing CAUTI is removal of catheters from patients who no longer need them.

 

 
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