When Healing Hurts
Over 100,000 lives are lost each year to Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs). This is equivalent to five-hundred airplanes crashing at a rate of 1.36 per day. Adding insult to injury, 9.8 billion dollars are spent each year on Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIS). This staggering cost is composed of reactive CMS readmission penalties, reimbursements and lawsuits. It seems as though the reality of healthcare is - healing hurts. Healthcare lacks a structured and scalable method for tackling HAIs - an increasing challenge due to an aging population and the rise of antibiotic-resistant organisms. The silos within healthcare, the complexity of prevention and the varied jurisdiction of healthcare professionals further escalate the severity of this problem. Simply put, handwashing, terminal cleans and aseptic techniques do not effectively protect patients. However, new methods for environmental optimization provide a new tool-kit as providers, administrators and physicians battle HAIs. Cross industry techniques such as particulate tracking, laminar flow and bio-load identification can preemptively combat the most costly HAIs - surgical site infections (SSIs). This thesis will explore a comprehensive and hypothesis-driven approach to reducing SSIs through the environmental evaluation and modification of the Operating Room. The following work will construct the foundation for a scalable tool that will quantify, evaluate and eliminate Hospital Acquired Infections.