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HAIs, Prevention is better than cure

Preventing HAIs

Due to Medicare's policy changes in the way they pay reimbursement to hospitals, the medical industry is beginning to recognize that it needs to move away from treatment for hospital-associated infections (HAIs) and focus more on preventive measures. Prevention is important because it has been reconfirmed that bacteria known as Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae have now become so resistant that most are part of an extended family of the Enterobacteriaceae bacteria usually found in the gut.

Over the last ten years, the number of cases involving infection from some forms of Enterobacteriaceae have been steadily rising. Although Enterobacteriaceae are already understood to be resistant to a large number of antibiotics, these latest findings regarding Carbapenem-Resistant strain are being taken very seriously. Dr. Thomas Frieden, a top federal health official from the CDC (The Center of Disease Control), dubbed the Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae a “Nightmare Bacteria,” stating that “our strongest antibiotics don’t work on CRE and patients are left with potentially untreatable infections.” The report found that not only has there been a fourfold increase in resistance within the family of Enterobacteriaceae, but with CRE in particular, the mortality rate is extremely high with over half of those infections resulting in death. In addition, they also have the capability of spreading their resistance properties to other bacteria, such as e. coli, making them more resistant to further antibiotics. The data also painted a picture that the patients most at risk are those in acute care settings, with the portion of hospitals reporting at least one case of CRE as high as 17.8% when compared to the short term of 4.3%. This is most likely due to the fact that patients in acute care settings are not only particularly vulnerable to the onset of infection, but are often being treated with catheterization and other invasive equipment that can cause trauma to the skin— the body's first line of defense.

Dr. Thomas Frieden has urged hospitals and healthcare providers to act now while there is still a window of opportunity to stop the spread of this deadly infection. With 42 states already reporting CRE infections standing at 4% of all hospitals surveyed during the first half of 2012, it seems that the spread of CRE is far from being contained. This underscores how misguided the medical industry has been in the past in taking a reactive approach to dealing with HAIs versus taking a preventive approach. Investment in prevention systems, technologies, and best practices, rather than costly treatments, should have been implemented years ago. Though hard to shift, the healthcare Industry's mentality must change to fit with the new outlook government has on how healthcare should be provided in the United States. Unfortunately, those who do not change will be left behind. It is increasingly urgent that hospitals put more emphasis on prevention rather than treatment in order to avoid HAIs becoming resistant to antibiotics and leaving the patient at risk of death.

As a provider of innovative trauma and infection reducing catheters, Poiesis Medical has to agree that the only way to deal with the magnitude of infections while dealing with budget cuts is though prevention. Poiesis has created the Duette™ dual-balloon catheter, which helps prevent infections of the bladder. The dual-balloon catheter provides a second balloon around the tip of the catheter that protects the bladder lining from damage, which in turn will help reduce the risk of infection. Patients can continue to use the Duette™ catheter after discharge from the medical facility, which will help reduce readmission rates.

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