Hospitals can't expect to control or prevent outbreaks of infections such as vancomycin-resistant enterococcus without sharing data and coordinating with other regional providers, a Johns Hopkins researcher says.
Hospital competition and the failure of infection control teams to talk with each other can lead to worse regional outbreaks of infections such as vancomycin-resistant enterococcus or VRE, according to a study in this month's American Journal of Infection Control.
"Hospitals can't expect to control or prevent VRE without really cooperating with all the other hospitals in that region," says Bruce Lee, MD, lead author of the paper and Director of Operations Research at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, who says the only solution is through cooperation and data sharing, whatever form that may take.
"You can claim that your hospital has great infection control, and it's clean, but as long as one or two hospitals in the county, or even one small hospital, is having problems controlling VRE, your hospital is at risk. You can keep pouring money and efforts into control, but you'll have (VRE) in patients moving in and percolating through the system."
Unfortunately, Lee says, hospitals in these interdependent regions "don't talk with each other, and in fact, many compete," which makes the problem worse.