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NewSplash Archive – March 2017

Issue 12 – 3/28
Hospital patient mortality drops during Joint Commission surveys, study finds
Patients admitted to the hospital during an unannounced Joint Commission survey have lower 30-day mortality rates than those patients admitted three weeks before or after the unannounced survey, according to a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Robotic microsurgeon for cochlear implantations tested in Switzerland
Researchers at the University of Bern in Switzerland have been testing an image-guided microsurgery robot that can perform cochlear implantations. This surgery is highly sensitive because it requires drilling near fragile and critical tissues, making the implants difficult to place safely.

Surgery following epidural steroid injection increases risk of post-op infection
Researchers at the University of Virginia suggested that patients who receive epidural steroid injections within three months of surgery may face an increased risk of post-op infection. Lumbar epidural steroid injections (LESIs) are administered to patients to help alleviate low back and associated leg pain.

Medical innovations to watch for, part 1
Over the next four issues of NewSplash, we will review Elsevier’s list of medical innovations on the horizon. The list is the culmination of their year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Medical Clinics series.

Chlorhexidine gluconate baths can help reduce MRSA by up to 55%, study shows
Bathing daily with with chlorhexidine gluconate can reduce incidence of some hospital-acquired infections, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

The Joint Commission Standards and Elements of Performance Related to Sterile Processing in Hospitals
This issue we continue our series on “The Joint Commission Standards and Elements of Performance Related to Sterile Processing in Hospitals.” Last issue we discussed the environment of care.


Issue 11 – 3/21
New therapy destroys breast cancer tumors in 11 days
Scientists in the U.K. have conducted a new breast cancer therapy trial that yielded staggering results. The trial was conducted on women with one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer.

Harvard Medical School releases video demonstrating horrifying reality of antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic resistance is a growing global threat. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 23,000 Americans died in 2013 from bacterial and fungal infections that did not respond to antibiotics.

Three blind rats, now they can see
A team of Italian researchers has developed an artificial retina made of organic photovoltaic material that allowed previously blind rats to see for months after implantation. The implant acts as a self-powering solar panel and consists of a semiconductor— a photovoltaic that turns light into current—and a conductive polymer to interface with the back of the eye, both placed on top of a biocompatible silk substrate.

Researchers discover new way to make superbugs sensitive to antibiotics
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen and Ross University School have discovered a way to restore antibiotic susceptibility in multidrug resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli strains. Using state-of-the-art technology in genomics, researchers identified several genes that are vital for survival of K. pneumoniae in the presence of colistin, the antibiotic of last resort for treating infections caused by these bacteria.

Deadly fungal infection reaches U.S.
A deadly fungal infection, Candida auris, has sickened dozens of people in the U.S. since last summer. Candida auris is a type of yeast infection that is difficult to detect and is resistant to current medical treatments.

ECRI Institute names top 10 patient safety concerns for 2017
Since 2009, the ECRI Institute has been publishing its annual list of top patient concerns for the upcoming year. The ECRI Institute relied on its Patient Safety Organization (PSO) event data, concerns raised by healthcare providers, and expert judgement to select the topics for 2017.

The Joint Commission Standards and Elements of Performance Related to Sterile Processing in Hospitals
In upcoming issues of NewSplash, we will look at “The Joint Commission Standards and Elements of Performance Related to Sterile Processing in Hospitals.” In this issue, we will review the environment of care, which promotes a safe, functional, and supportive environment within the hospital.


Issue 10 – 3/14
Scientists 3D print microscopic vascular networks for building living tissues
Creating living tissue in a lab requires a structure that mimics their natural environment, complete with capillary networks that carry oxygen and nutrients to successfully sustain life in the integrated tissue environment. Researchers at the University of California San Diego have developed a method of printing tiny vascular networks which turn into vessel-like structures that are made of the same cells as natural blood vessels.

ASHRM celebrates National Patient Safety Awareness Week
The American Society for Healthcare Risk Management is dedicated to improving patient safety. During the week of March 12–18, ASHRM will share resources with healthcare risk management and patient safety communities.

New rescue method saves donor lungs
For those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and end-stage lung disease, transplantation is the only cure. Due to a shortage of donor lungs, transplantation criteria have allowed the use of marginal donor lungs.

Scientists identify new drug combo that can take out superbugs
Using an antifungal medication in tandem with antibiotics can successfully eliminate multidrug-resistant superbugs, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Microbiology.

ACA replacement would cut $1B from CDC infection control funds
The ACA replacement plan House Republicans proposed on Monday would eliminate the CDC’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, which, under the ACA, receives $1 billion annually from the federal government to protect the public from potential outbreaks and bioterrorism, according to The Washington Post.

New pill shoots vaccine into cheek to avoid injections
Researchers at the University of California Berkeley have developed a new way to administer vaccines that would bypass painful needle injections. The device, called MucoJet, is a pill that releases the vaccine in the form of a microjet when pushed against the cheek.

Risk Reduction Tools
This issue concludes our series on Risk Reduction Tools used by healthcare facilities to evaluate patient safety. We have already reviewed Root Cause Analysis and Failure Modes & Effects Analysis; now we will look at Mock Surveys and Tracer Methodology.


Issue 9 – 3/7
World Health Organization publishes list of 12 bacteria families for which antibiotics are desperately needed
For the first time ever, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a list of 12 families of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that pose the greatest risk to human health. This list of priority pathogens was created as a guide to promote research and development of new antibiotics to combat growing global resistance to antimicrobial medicines.

How do superbugs travel from sinks to patients?
Bacteria proliferate in hospital sink drains, and new research from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville charts out bacteria’s pathways from the sink to hospital patients. 

FDA clears test to help manage antibiotic treatment for lower respiratory tract infections and sepsis
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared the expanded use of the Vidas Brahms PCT Assay to help healthcare providers determine if antibiotic treatment should be started or stopped in patients with lower respiratory tract infections, such as community-acquired pneumonia, and stopped in patients with sepsis. This is the first test to use procalcitonin (PCT), a protein associated with the body’s response to a bacterial infection, as a biomarker to help make antibiotic management decisions in patients with these conditions.

A superbug in space: NASA sends MRSA bacteria to International Space Station
NASA launched a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on February 19 with an unusual occupant—methicillin-resistantStaphylococcus aureus, according to a CNN report. The superbug has been sent to the International Space Station to be studied by astronauts.

Fluorescence imaging assisting surgeons with robotic surgery
Surgeons at UPMC Chautauqua WCA are using the new Firefly da Vinci Si Surgical System with integrated fluorescence imaging capabilities to improve surgical outcomes. The system uses indocyanine green water-soluble, tricabocyanine dye to provide surgeons with image-guided identification of key anatomical landmarks using near-infrared technology.

Risk Reduction Tools
This issue we continue our series on Risk Reduction Tools used by healthcare facilities to evaluate patient safety. These tools can help your facility prepare for a survey and provide a process to remedy problem areas.