SOURCE: Emergent Success, Inc.

October 22, 2007 08:08 ET

MRSA on the Rise: "Superbug" Solution Requires Community Engagement

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwire - October 22, 2007) - The article in the October 17th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) confirms that drug resistant Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are a serious public health concern. The included report, written by the CDC, is the latest research to note the spread of MRSA in communities across the US. "It's really just the tip of the drug-resistant iceberg," said Elizabeth A. Bancroft, a medical epidemiologist at the LA Dept. of Public Health, in an accompanying editorial.

"What is underneath the iceberg is the majority of the problem," noted Kevin Buck, Principal with Emergent Success. Emergent Success is currently assisting a number of hospitals across the US in reducing MRSA infections. "What has made this a seemingly intractable problem in health care is that we have isolated the solution to infection control compliance efforts." The solution according to Buck is the collaboration and integration of efforts across all those involved in the larger health care system, beyond just the clinical care people. MRSA is not only found in healthcare facilities. There is an increasing prevalence in schools, gyms, athletic teams, prisons and other community locations.

Andrew Adams, Enrollment Eligibility Clerk at the VA Hospital in Wilkes-Barre, PA., exemplifies the community-wide lens needed to adequately address this issue. After hearing about MRSA at the "Getting to Zero" event held at his hospital as part of the Veteran Administration's MRSA Prevention Initiative, he has not only changed his behavior at work, but taken the knowledge he learned about MRSA prevention home to his family, and into the wider community. As one of the first people newly admitted veterans meet upon admission to the hospital, he has an alcohol-based solution pump at his desk and invites them to wash their hands. At home, he has spoken to his children about the importance of good hand-washing technique and not sharing towels. An avid dart player, he even advocated for the installation of alcohol pumps at the three local places where he plays darts, including the McAdoo VFW Post 6708. He is now involved on a national level with the VFW alerting them to the issue and educating them on how they can play a part in preventing infections at their local chapters.

"I'm a youth baseball and basketball coach and when I learned about MRSA at work, it got me concerned for the health of my own boys. I saw them sharing towels and water bottles on the sidelines. I started talking to people about what we could do differently," Adams said. He has been advocating in his community for about a year, but with all the increased awareness that the CDC study has generated, he has become something of a local "MRSA expert," a role that he says is ok with him. "Anyone who knows me knows I speak my mind openly -- it's about the health of the kids and there is nothing more important to me."

Research being done nationally is starting to demonstrate that prevention is possible. The differentiation is that in addition to enhanced infection control efforts, collaborative approaches are being used to engage hospital employees like Adams -- "ownership" vs. "buy-in." The VA initiative focuses on "culture change" among its health care workers to improve awareness of the threat and to make infection prevention a routine part of everyone's job. Other organizations such The Plexus Institute, the Positive Deviance Initiative and the Delmarva Foundation/Maryland Patient Safety Center are collaborating with the Center for Disease Control to focus on innovative solutions to this threat.

About Emergent Success, Inc.

Emergent Success assists clients to solve their real-time issues by liberating the collective wisdom, talent and energy from within their organization for the emergence of strategic success. Its senior consultants facilitate collaborative dialogues that create systemic integration amongst the unintended silos present in most organizations. The Company is headquartered in Mountain View, CA with consultants located across the United States.

Contact Information

  • Contact Information:
    Janet Buck
    Emergent Success, Inc.
    650-472-3760 x202
    Email Contact