The last time you were at the hospital, you were probably bombarded with a laundry list of acronyms; ICU, DNR, DOA, and HIPAA, just to name a few. As a patient or family member, you might have wondered what these terms meant for you or your loved one but may have been too afraid to ask.
While each of these acronyms stands for an important healthcare related term and many of them like DOA (Dead on arrival) or DNR (Do not resuscitate) are fairly ubiquitous in our culture, others have generated less awareness and remain outside the general scope of patient knowledge.
One of these less common terms is the acronym HAI and while you probably didn’t hear it mentioned during your last visit to the hospital, it is an important term with which all patients should be familiar.
HAI stands for Healthcare Associated Infection and as the title implies, it encompasses any infections acquired by patients during their stay in the hospital. Most of these infections come from any number of different bacteria or viruses that live on unclean surfaces, unwashed hands, or even in the air.
While hospitals do their best to clean rooms and prevent their patients from acquiring these infections, many of the bacteria that make patients the sickest are either nearly impossible to eliminate under current protocols, or worse, completely resistant to many antibiotics and cleaning agents!
Healthcare Associated Infections are no small threat, either. Each year in this country roughly 100,000 Americans die and another 1.7 million are injured because of infections they contract during their stay in the hospital.
HAIs are scary and it is important for you to know about them. That’s why over the next several weeks, we want to introduce you to them in more depth, share a little about the history of infection control, and provide you with some examples of what hospitals and companies are doing to prevent the spread of the bacteria that cause them.
While most healthcare acronyms are here to stay, our hope is that through increased knowledge, healthier habits, and new technology, HAI won’t have to be one of them.
Xenex is a company on a mission to eradicate the harmful bacteria and viruses that cause the healthcare associated infections which take countless lives around the world every day. While we produce a robot that is used to disinfect hospital rooms, we also think it is critical to inform, support, and arm the general public with the tools and knowledge necessary to help them navigate the tough and often complicated worlds of infection control and health.
Please join in the conversation with your comments, questions, and concerns and please consider following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus for more up-to-date information about the science of infection control, our company, and chances to take action against these healthcare associated infections.
John Burnam is the Copywriter at Xenex Healthcare Services. In his spare time, you can catch him traveling, drinking coffee and hanging out with his wife and friends.