May 21, 2015

Public Disclosure of Hospital-Acquired Infections Needed

hospital%20seats.jpgOften, when an infection outbreak occurs in a hospital, health investigators keep the outbreak quiet in order to encourage hospitals to self-report the situation. However, those policies, according to several researchers, place patients at greater risk of infection.

A recent series of infections at several hospitals has spotlighted the secrecy that occurs, when there are infectious outbreaks in American hospitals. In 2008, a hospital in Florida saw an outbreak of carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) that was ultimately linked to tainted duodenoscopes. Hospital officials reported the outbreak to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and discussed it with the Food And Drug Administration, but the outbreak was not publicly disclosed. Two years later, doctors investigated the problem in a medical journal.

A few months ago, a similar outbreak linked to contaminated duodenoscopes was traced to CRE outbreaks at the UCLA and Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Just as in the case of the Florida outbreak, the Los Angeles outbreaks were also linked to improperly sterilized duodenoscopes.

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May 14, 2015

To Prevent Bicycle Accident Fatalities, Focus on Automakers

bike%2008377.jpgAs we've reported previously, the number of bicyclists in Indiana has increased significantly over the past decade and with this increase comes an increased risk of bicycle accidents. Over the past few years, bicycle safety initiatives have mainly focused on enhancing city and state infrastructure to help reduce the risk of accidents and fatalities. However, these efforts have not really focused on the role of motor vehicles in keeping bicyclists safer.

Thankfully, an increasing number of automakers are taking the initiative on this front. They are experimenting with technology that could help detect objects in the path of a car, thereby helping prevent many accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were a total of more than 3,300 bicycle accident fatalities between 2008 and 2012. Out of those, almost three-quarters of the fatalities occurred when a bicycle was hit a passenger vehicle.

A growing number of automakers are currently adding technology in their cars that would detect bicycles in their path. For instance, Volvo currently has technology on some of its models that detects pedestrians in the path of the motor vehicle. However, more advanced technology would specifically detect the back of another vehicle, including bikes, and prevent a potential accident. Accidents which involve a bicycle rider being stuck by behind are the most common types of accidents involving bicycles and have a high potential to cause injuries or fatalities. According to researchers, if this technology could be expanded to cover more vehicles, it could help significantly reduce the number of people being killed in bicycle accidents every year.

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May 7, 2015

Risk of Injuries & Illnesses for Patients Admitted on Weekends

weekend.jpgPatients who are admitted into the hospital for treatment of a medical condition are much more likely to suffer a hospital-acquired condition like an injury or illness, when admitted over weekends, compared to patients who are admitted during week days.

The results came from a study that analyzed 350-million hospital admissions between 2002 and 2010. The researchers found that approximately 5% of these admissions resulted in the patient contracting at least one hospital-acquired condition. They also found that admission on a weekend was linked to a 20% higher chance of the patient contracting a hospital-acquired condition, compared to patients admitted during weekdays.

The most common complication for patients admitted into the hospital on weekends was accidents due to fall. Falls occurred in approximately 14-million hospital admissions that occurred on weekends, and accounted for 85% of all the hospital-acquired conditions. Other conditions included bedsores or pressure ulcers, as well as central line-associated urinary tract infections.

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April 30, 2015

Simultaneous Consumption of Alcohol and Marijuana Increases Accident Risks

drink%20and%20more.jpgYou shouldn't be driving under the influence of alcohol at all. However, if you choose to inhale marijuana with your drinks, then your risks of being involved in a drunk driving accident are automatically much higher.

According to a new study, motorists, who smoke marijuana and drink alcohol simultaneously, are twice as likely to drive under the influence of alcohol, compared to those who simply drink alcohol on its own. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 18 percent of car accident fatalities every year are linked to the use of drugs like marijuana and cocaine. Very often, those drugs are consumed along with alcohol. Researchers are warning that the increased availability of marijuana and the easing of restrictions on marijuana are a predictor of doom. Many people may not understand that combining marijuana and alcohol significantly impairs their ability to drive safely.

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April 23, 2015

Commercial Trucks at High Risk of Rollover Due to High Speeds

country%20road%200087.jpgA new investigation into truck tire rollover accident finds that speeding is a major contributor to rollover rates. Big rig tires are designed for a maximum speed of 75 mph. However, as the number of states across the country has moved to increase the limits for trucks on their highways, the number of rollover accidents involving these rigs has also increased.

It is only now that researchers are making the connection between the higher speed limits, allowed by certain states, and the higher risk of rollovers in these states.

In Indiana, the speed limits for trucks are 55 mph on rural interstate highways, and 55 mph on urban interstate highways. Those are reasonable speed limits, and are within the range that tires are designed for. Most tires are only equipped to handle speeds of up to 75 mph. Those designs were adequate to prevent accidents up until the middle of the last decade, when many states began increasing speed limits on trucks on their highways.

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April 16, 2015

Disinfection Robots Prevent Infections

cleaning%20supplies.jpgThe pressure is increasing as medical facilities seek to reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections.To that end, hospitals are investing in more innovative technology, including the use of robots to sterilize contaminated rooms and surfaces. The sophisticated, state-of-the-art disinfection robots that are equipped with technology to eliminate infection-causing pathogens. Hundreds of American hospitals have purchased disinfection robots, that are designed to eliminate these deadly and costly bugs. These robots help supplement a hospital’s existing infection control program. Hospital officials believe that these robots can help eliminate the element of human error in sterilizing surfaces.

The use of these robots is fairly new to the medical community, and as a result there isn't much information available about how effective they might be. At a cost of more than $100,000 for each robot, hospitals haven't been using these disinfection robots long enough to know whether there is a definite return on investment. However, that hasn't stopped hospitals from investing in the technology. Sales of the special robots are expected to climb to $80-million in the next two years alone.

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April 9, 2015

A Drunk Driving Deterrent?

expensive.jpgMaking alcohol expensive could probably go a long way in helping reduce the number of alcohol-related fatalities on Indiana roadways every year. According to the results of new research, when alcohol is made more expensive, there's a significant reduction in drunk driving and consequently, a reduction in the number of drunk driving accident fatalities recorded.

The researchers based their findings on an analysis of drunk driving accident fatalities in the state of Illinois, where alcohol taxes increased significantly in 2009. The researchers found that after the alcohol taxes were increased, there was a significant decrease in the number of alcohol-related fatalities recorded in Illinois. Fatalities dropped by 26%, and the sharpest increase was seen in the case of young people.

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April 2, 2015

No Progress in Pedestrian Safety in Indiana

pedestrians.jpgIn spite of efforts like education campaigns and enforcement campaigns, pedestrians continue to be killed at a high rate in Indiana. In fact, those numbers actually increased between 2013 and 2014.

New statistics released by the Governors Highway Safety Association clearly find an increase in pedestrian fatalities in 2014, compared to the previous year. In 2014, there were 37 pedestrian fatalities in Indiana, an increase from 34 fatalities in the previous year.

In fact, nationwide, it was a similar picture in 2014. There was either no change at all in accident statistics between 2013 and 2014, or those numbers actually increased. Nationwide, 14 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities now constitute pedestrians. That is an increase from just a decade earlier, when the percentage was in single digits.

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March 26, 2015

Medical Devices May Lead to Medical Errors

pressure%20cuff%200832210.jpgThere’s no denying that medical devices have made life safer and healthier for many of us. The devices accomplish a number of invaluable functions and have become more sophisticated with each passing year. However, many are still not designed to share data with other devices in the environment, requiring nurses and other healthcare personnel to manually enter the data into the devices and electronic medical records. That extra step in documentation increases the risk of medical errors.

In a new study of nurses, an overwhelming majority of them admitted that they believed medical errors could be reduced significantly if devices were made to communicate with one another. As many as 74% of the nurses in the study believed that it was extremely burdensome for them to manually coordinate data from these devices. About half of the nurses admitted that they have personally seen medical errors occurring because of this lack of device interoperability.

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March 19, 2015

Hands-Free Driving Isn't Necessarily Safer Driving

blurry%20road.jpgYour accident risk could still be high even if you are using a headset to have a conversations while driving. This includes the use of a voice-activated system in your car to accomplish functions that you would otherwise have done manually. A growing body of research indicates that voice technologies aren't necessarily safer technology, and won't necessarily help reduce the risk of an accident.

For years now, many of us have known that headsets don’t necessarily reduce accident risks. In spite of that, much of the focus on distracted driving across the country has been legislation that prohibits the use of handheld cell phones and texting devices at the wheel. Those bans are based on the theory that distractions involve visual, manual and cognitive distractions. That means anything that takes your hand away from the steering wheel, your eyes away from the road, and your mind off the task off the task of driving is considered a distraction.

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March 12, 2015

Back Seat Occupants at Greater Risk

seatbelt0101.jpgFor years, sitting in the backseat of a car was considered less risky than sitting in the front seat. However, over the years, front seats have gotten safer as technology for these occupants has improved, while safety technology for backseat occupants has lagged.

From smarter seat-belts to better airbags, occupants of the front seats now have a variety of features that are specifically designed to help reduce their risk of an injury in an accident. However, there has been comparatively little progress made in helping reduce the risk of injuries to backseat occupants. Therefore, the old adage that sitting in the backseat can help keep you safer in an accident, may not hold true.

Crash testing only makes use of front seat dummies. That means that most of the advancements that have been made over the past decade in occupant safety have primarily focused on safety for front seat passengers, traditionally believed to be at a high risk of injuries in an accident.

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March 5, 2015

Bicycle Fatalities Increase Across US

bike%20chain%20076.jpgWhile we are still in the throws of winter's grip, it wont be long before Indiana roads are filled with bicyclists ready to take advantage of a warm spring. With the increased bike traffic comes increased risk for injury and death.

One significant factor in this danger is the increasingly hostile traffic conditions for bicyclists. In 2013, federal authorities recorded an increase in the number of people killed in bicycle accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found an increase of 1.2% in bicycle fatalities in 2013. While 734 bicyclists were killed in 2012, the number jumped to 743 in 2013.

The increase in bicycle fatalities is even more alarming because the number of bicyclists being killed in accidents had previously dropped consistently between 1975 and 2010. However, authorities note an up-tick between 2010 and 2012, with the number of bicycle fatalities climbing by 16% annually.

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