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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
7-Feb-2014

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Contact: Jessica M Maki
jmaki3@partners.org
617-525-6373
Brigham and Women's Hospital

Variability of contact precaution policies in US emergency departments

Researchers found substantial variation in the adoption of policies relating to contact precautions

In a study published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology on February 7, 2014, Daniel J. Pallin, MD, MPH and Jeremiah D. Schuur, MD, MS, surveyed a random sample of US emergency departments (EDs) and found substantial variation in the adoption of policies relating to contact precautions.

While most EDs have policies relating to contact precautions when specific organisms are suspected, a minority have such policies for the symptoms often caused by those organisms. This indicated that institutional policies do not mirror consensus recommendations by the CDC, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and other national bodies.

The authors write, "The variation in policy that we observed leads us to recommend that emergency medicine organizations, such as the American College of Emergency Physicians, should enact policies addressing contact precautions in the ED. "

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Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) is a 793-bed nonprofit teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a founding member of Partners HealthCare. BWH has more than 3.5 million annual patient visits, is the largest birthing center in New England and employs nearly 15,000 people. The Brigham's medical preeminence dates back to 1832, and today that rich history in clinical care is coupled with its national leadership in patient care, quality improvement and patient safety initiatives, and its dedication to research, innovation, community engagement and educating and training the next generation of health care professionals. Through investigation and discovery conducted at its Biomedical Research Institute (BRI), BWH is an international leader in basic, clinical and translational research on human diseases, more than 1,000 physician-investigators and renowned biomedical scientists and faculty supported by nearly $650 million in funding. For the last 25 years, BWH ranked second in research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) among independent hospitals. BWH continually pushes the boundaries of medicine, including building on its legacy in transplantation by performing a partial face transplant in 2009 and the nation's first full face transplant in 2011. BWH is also home to major landmark epidemiologic population studies, including the Nurses' and Physicians' Health Studies and the Women's Health Initiative. For more information and resources, please visit BWH's online newsroom.



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