Results from microbiological and epidemiological investigations, as well as mathematical modelling, show that the transmission dynamics of nosocomial pathogens, especially of multiple antibiotic-resistant bacteria, is not exclusively amenable to single-hospital infection prevention measures. Crucially, their extent of spread depends on the structure of an underlying "healthcare network", as determined by inter-institutional referrals of patients. The current trend towards centralized healthcare systems favours the spread of hospital-associated pathogens, and must be addressed by coordinated regional or national approaches to infection prevention in order to maintain patient safety. Here we review recent advances that support this hypothesis, and propose a "next-generation" network-approach to hospital infection prevention and control.
- Healthcare networks
- Network analysis
- Regional networks
- Infection prevention and control
- RESISTANT STAPHYLOCOCCUS-AUREUS
- HEALTH-CARE FACILITIES