Some disturbing news about hospitals: Just as interest in lean is growing, and there is increasing public pressure for improved quality, hospitals are cutting the resources devoted to infection prevention.
The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and
Epidemiology surveyed more than 2,000 of its members in March as to the effects of the recession, and the results are not encouraging. Some of the findings:
Cuts are affecting the essence of infection prevention – a quarter of respondents
have reduced surveillance activities to detect, track and manage healthcare associated infections (HAIs).
Cuts have impaired infection prevention programs – a third of the respondents say cuts in staffing and resources reduce their capacity to focus on infection prevention.
Three quarters of survey respondents work at acute care hospitals; Six in 10 also
supervise infection prevention for outpatient clinics.
If hospitals did the right kind of economic analysis, they would recognize that cutting infection prevention efforts will likely increase infection rates, which will cost them more money.
If this is an area of interest for you, I urge you to read the entire survey report. It is a political document, as the association is pushing its own goals. But it also a chilling document, and I hope it can serve as a call to action.