Citywide Hand Hygiene Intervention Triggers 25 Percent Drop in Community Infection Rate

An unprecedented public health initiative has demonstrated the potential of hand hygiene awareness and compliance to reduce the spread of illness and related healthcare costs in a community. The study further demonstrated the power of public-private partnerships in tackling intractable health issues, specifically both community-acquired and healthcare-acquired infections.

Nice-Pak Products, Inc./Professional Disposables International, Inc. (PDI), today announced results of the "My Healthy Arkansas Initiative," a multi-faceted program conducted in Jonesboro, Ark. This program aimed at decreasing healthcare costs by reducing the levels of community-acquired infection, specifically staph infections. The program also focused on raising awareness of hand hygiene through educational programs that trained more than 10,500 people on the importance of hand hygiene and the correct use of alcohol-based hand wipes. Sani-Hands® Antimicrobial Alcohol Gel Hand Wipes and dispensing floor stands were made available throughout the community, including shopping areas, various local businesses, all city government buildings, the University and schools.

At the conclusion of the study, researchers confirmed a 25 percent reduction in the incidence of skin and skin structure infections presenting to the hospital emergency department compared to the beginning of the study. The most common isolate from the wound cultures was Methicillin Resistant Staphyloccous aureus(MRSA). Preliminary findings for the study were presented at the annual Infectious Diseases Society of America Conference on Oct. 23, 2010 by lead researcher, Dr. Carl Abraham, of the Department of Epidemiology at St. Bernards Medical Center.

"Prevention efforts play a significant role in cutting healthcare costs in Arkansas and across the United States," says Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe. "Exploring partnerships, like this one between Jonesboro and Nice-Pak/PDI, helps find new ways to reduce both the transmission of disease and the need for treatment."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hand hygiene remains the single most important way to break the chain of infection. "Nice-Pak/PDI is pleased to have been a part of the My Healthy Arkansas Initiative and we are extremely encouraged by the dramatic results that have been demonstrated in the community," says Dr. Hudson Garrett, director of clinical affairs for PDI. "Given the tremendous toll that staph and MRSA infections take on the healthcare system, any decrease in these infections will result in decreases in the costs of providing healthcare."

In addition to Nice-Pak/PDI, My Healthy Arkansas program partners included the Arkansas Governor's Office and First Lady Ginger Beebe, Jonesboro City Government including Mayor Harold Perrin, St. Bernard's Healthcare, Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Arkansas State University.

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