In this episode of the Surviving Healthcare podcast, you’ll hear about the alarming number of incidences of hospital acquired infections (HAI) and how many can be prevented. My guests for this discussion are Thom Wellington and Tom Sears, the entrepreneurs who recently founded Infection Control University (ICU), a company that seeks to train hospital employees to reduce infections.
Mr. Wellington is also the founder of Wellington Environmental, one of the largest environmental consulting companies in the country.
Our conversation starts with a discussion of why they founded ICU, and we discover that there are significant and troubling knowledge gaps among hospital workers, especially contractors like maintenance workers, painters, electricians and the like, who don’t understand their potential impact on patient care.
Mr. Wellington explains the reasons for the gap and places blame for the oversight. He then tells us why not advising many hospital staff on the Infection Control Risk Assessment creates extra risk for the hospital, especially these days. He explains why the ICU training program is important, and why they made sure the program complies with Center for Medicare and Medicaid Studies (CMS) recommendations.
Mr. Sears then outlines the details of the ICU program and explains why they made it online and video-based. He discusses the pricing strategy and why hospitals would do well to invest more time and energy into such a program and require contractors to implement it. We talk about the impact of minimizing patient exposure to HAIs, both from the quality of care perspective and the cost perspective.
We also talk about the future. ICU and other programs, such as CDC courses on infection awareness and blood borne pathogens should be used more to teach non-medical personnel because of the impact on hospital risk management. We also touch on the importance of certification and re-certification and how such a strategy will save hospitals a lot of money. The key to reducing HAIs is more training for everyone, and making sure the message conveyed is consistent and high quality.