Old Habits Die Hard
Gonzalo Llorens Bearman, MD
Bearman is a Professor of Medicine and Associate Hospital Epidemiologist at the Virginia Commonwealth University with a focus on infectious diseases, internal medicine, epidemiology, international medical relief and clinical research.
As the committee's report says, old habits, such as the long-sleeved monogramed lab coat, "is steeped in culture and tradition." And old habits do die hard.
"We know that healthcare worker apparel can get colonized with bacteria, whether it's a lab coat or a tie or even a scrub top," Bearman explains. "But there's no slam dunk evidence to prove that colonized apparel results in cross-transmission to cause a hospital-acquired infection. That's the state of knowledge."
"So what we are doing is making some recommendations based on biologic plausibility—what we think is reasonable and feasible, and not difficult to implement."
Bearman stresses that these recommendations are all voluntary, and applicable to all inpatient settings in acute care hospitals except the operating room, which has its own requirements. Here are a few of the committee's recommendations.