(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Actions as simple as the way health-care workers remove their soiled gloves and gowns can make a huge difference when it comes to reducing rates of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), a drug-resistant superbug that plagues hospitals around the country.
Every year, about 100,000 people develop MRSA infections, resulting in nearly 19,000 deaths. About 86 percent of these infections occur in health care facilities.
For the first time, a multi-center MRSA prevention program that employed positive deviance -- an approach to social and behavioral changes that relies upon suggestions from hospital workers -- significantly reduced MRSA rates from 26 to 62 percent at participating hospitals.
The positive deviance approach was included to help all staff members at the participating hospitals find the best ways to carry out infection-prevention goals and identify and eliminate barriers to achieving them.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded the program, and the results were analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Researchers said it's extremely rare to reduce endemic antimicrobial resistance at hospitals, but these results show it is possible with the right interventions.
"It is innovative activities, such as [positive deviance], that may have a transformative impact on infection control efforts, suggesting that MRSA and possibly other drug-resistance infections need not be inevitable," Rosemary Gibson, M.Sc., a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation was quoted as saying.
SOURCE: Results presented at the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America's 19th Annual Scientific Meeting on March 21, 2009