A study conducted in 2015 found that the rates of hospital-acquired infections and antimicrobial resistance were remarkably higher in India than those reported in the USA by the CDC. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are at least 1.4 million people globally that, at any given time, suffers from a hospital-acquired infection (HAI). In India, adherence to practice bundles is variable, technology applied is different from that in Westernized countries and hospital accreditation is optional.
According to the 2015 State of the World’s Antibiotics report, a life-threatening strain of bacterium has doubled its resistance to last-resort antibiotics and, at an estimate, will be responsible for the deaths of at least 2 million patients in India by 2050. The Indian health authorities are under extreme pressure to not only up the standard of general practice and hygiene within their medical facilities but also to curb indiscriminate antibiotics use, the reason behind the resistance. A variety of precautionary measures, such as making use of professional sanitation services, can be taken within a hospital to reduce the risk of HAI’s.
Education is key
The most powerful tool available in reducing HAI’s is to consistently educate both staff and patients on the subject. Patients need to be supplied with a guideline on how to take care of their own personal hygiene and are encouraged to prompt the hospital staff to do the same. As far as staff is concerned good hygiene and effective sterilization and disinfection techniques are of vital importance. Despite national initiatives, individual hospitals themselves can set up their own programs to monitors, prevent and assess causes of infection.
Reducing surgical-site infections (SSI)
Surgical infections comprise of up to 20% of all HAI’s with a lot of these being acquired when a surgeon interrupts surgery to view a patient’s data. Modern technology has made it possible that a surgeon is able to view a patient’s medical images by through interaction with an operating room assistant application. Through a variety of voice commands and gestures a surgeon has direct access to all the information that is required. The benefits of such an application are significant as it not only increases the cost-effectiveness of surgeries but decreases the cost of post-surgical treatment as well.
Predictive analytics to speed up test results
Outside of the operating theatre, predictive analytics have shown tremendous potential in reducing the risk of HAI’s. Although a lot of these solutions are still in the developmental stage, it could have a huge impact on the medical field worldwide. The purpose of these technologies is to help doctors get quicker test results pertaining to bacterial antibiotic resistance in patients. Instead of the few days currently needed to obtain such results, developers are hoping to cut the time down to a mere 2 hours at most. As time is of the essence in treating HAI’s such a reduction can result in thousands of lives being saved.
Unfortunately, even if a hospital takes every possible precaution to prevent superbugs from developing, patients are still at risk of getting an infection. From a patient’s perspective, it is important to be on the lookout for possible symptoms that include dizziness, fever, redness, swelling and increasing pain. If a patient experiences any of these symptoms after surgery they need to alert their doctor immediately, it could save a life!