Stopping infection with help from the supply chain

Health care can be an unpredictable job. While doctors may know what they're doing, they have no guarantee that they'll be able to treat every disease and health condition that comes through hospitals. It's important for hospitals to have measures in place to protect medical professionals and patients throughout the supply chain.

Superbugs cause serious health problems
While "super" generally implies positivity, superbugs are far from good. These bacteria cause countless problems for health care providers and patients. While antibiotics should cure many diseases, they are sometimes defeated by carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained. Good bacteria in the digestive system enter other areas of the body to cause CRE infections, which are, unfortunately, resistant to antibiotics.

In September 2014, President Barack Obama released an executive order calling for health care providers to adopt procedures to not only prevent the development and spread of CRE infections, but to illustrate what to do in the event of an outbreak. With this announcement, a task force was created to ensure medical facilities follow federal regulations and implement practices to monitor and control CRE infections.

Hospitals improving infection prevention
At the time of Obama's executive order, many hospitals already had infection prevention protocols in place. However, they can only do so much with the medications and devices they're provided, Healthcare Finance News explained. Antibiotics are difficult to create because bacteria are always evolving and becoming resistant to treatment. This requires pharmaceutical companies to develop medications that can battle even the most stubborn and advanced contagions.

One way to combat the problem may be to limit the use of antibiotics if they aren't absolutely necessary, as people and bacteria can build up a tolerance. Another method would be to use medical devices with antimicrobial properties, the source claimed.

"From a supply chain standpoint, you are looking at potentially higher costs to buy devices with antimicrobial additives," Lise Moloney, director of business development at Sciessent, told Healthcare Finance News. "But hospitals need to think of what having a new way of preventing antibiotic-resistant infections can save them."

To eliminate superbugs, medical facilities need to do whatever they can to develop treatments to prevent the spread of bacteria. This starts at the beginning of the supply chain with pharmaceutical companies coming up with solutions and ends with patients receiving the medications they need.

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