Labor Day reading

An interesting piece in The Atlantic, written by someone who lost his father to a hospital acquired infection. He ties poor infection control practices to the structure of our health care system, and provides his own proposal for reform at the end of the piece. Whether you agree or not with his prescription (I happen not to agree), the piece is thoughtfully written and makes several important points.

One particular issue that I’ve thought about lately has to do with how the structure of a health care system influences the risk for hospital acquired infection. I agree that incentives for infection prevention (and disincentives for higher infection rates) are important. But is there any evidence that countries with similar living standards but different health care systems have markedly different nosocomial infection rates?

I’m asking this not as a hypothetical, but because I honestly have no idea. I’ll need to find time to search for published data on this, unless someone can enlighten me in the comments section (and no, I’m not talking about rates of one specific drug resistant organism from one country to another, but overall nosocomial infection rates, which of course leads to big issues of standardized definitions, risk adjustment, etc.).


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