- Around one-third of 3,100 hospitals evaluated received poor scores for their inability to control clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection rates, according to a Consumer Reports review.
- Among the hospitals receiving poor scores were 19 academic teaching hospitals.
- Ninety-four percent of C. diff infection cases occur in hospitals and other healthcare environments, according to Consumer Reports.
C. diff can be defeated with soap, gloves, disinfectants, and the proper use of antibiotics, so why are around 29,000 people dying from C. diff infection acquired in hospitals each year? The Consumer Reports review highlights the problem with hospital-acquired infections across the nation.
Teaching hospitals are supposed to reveal best practices for improving care and quality, Lisa McGiffert, director of Consumer Reports Safe Patient Project, said. This makes it particularly frustrating that only two large teaching hospitals, Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, FL and Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY were able to secure one of Consumer Reports’ top two scores in preventing C. diff infections.
Reducing C. diff infection rates could just mean putting in place protocols for hand washing and room cleaning. While the Centers for Disease Control recommend protocols, the agency can’t enforce these protocols and only 39% of hospitals have an antibiotic stewardship program in place.
Putting protocols in place to reduce hospital-acquired infections can be a lot more difficult than it sounds. Maimonides, for instance, tried many strategies, including screensaver messages and email reminders, to get providers and nurses to wash their hands. However, they are generally busy, prone to burn outs, and sometimes they just simply forget.
“Yes, the tools are simple, but they have to be deployed exactly the right way over and over and over again,” Dr. Edward Chapnick, director of infectious disease at Maimonides, told Consumer Reports. “And that’s not so easy, especially in big hospitals with hundreds of beds and lots of different people.”