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Georgia Institute of Technology
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Evaluating the Efficacy and Efficiency of Competing Approaches to Reducing Nosocomial Infection Rates

In the U.S. alone, nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections occur at the rate of approximately two million per year, with one hundred thousand of these leading to death. The suffering, loss of productivity, expenditure of scarce health-care resources, coupled with the rising resistance of many pathogens, make this issue urgent and important.

Since it is difficult or expensive to observe colonization and ascertain whether a patient was infected prior to, or during hospitalization, and the process by which pathogens spread depends on the behavior of patients, health-care workers, visitors and the community at large, the best strategy to reduce nosocomial infection rates is unknown. Two possible approaches to reduction include: screening for isolation and improved hygiene approaches. The costs involved are not yet clear, and in particular, the non-health-care productivity costs need to be included in any cost-benefit analysis of policies. This proposed research uses simulation to model how different strategies may impact rates of nosocomial infections, their costs in the long and short term, as well as the overall interaction between hospitals and the community.

Investigators: Paul Griffin (GT, Industrial Engineering), Amber Cocks (Children's Healthcare of Atlanta), Pinar Keskinocak (GT, Industrial Engineering)

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