Tunnel vision

The Telegraph, one of the UK's newspapers, reports that hospitals there have so focused on controlling MRSA and C. difficile that infections due to other organisms are being ignored. The article points out that this has occurred because infections due to these two organisms are required to be publicly reported, whereas infections due to other organisms are not. The problem is that the others account for 80% of infections. In a 2004 paper, Martin Marshall et al describe seven adverse unintended consequences of public reporting of healthcare quality data. One of these is tunnel vision--a concentration on the issue being measured to the detriment of other important problems. This could be avoided by adopting a non-pathogen specific approach to infection control, which will reduce infections due to all pathogens transmitted via contact.


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