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NCCEH Student Project Award 2012 - B Kung

Infection prevention and control in Vancouver’s medical clinic waiting room: Is there consistency between regions of different socioeconomic status?

B Kung
BC Institute of Technology: Environmental Health

The process of disease transmission in community based health care settings has been thoroughly examined and findings from this research have encouraged the creation of guidelines to minimize the risk of health care associated infections within these facilities. To date however, monitoring of the implementation of these recommendations by public health organizations has been sparse. Completed in Vancouver, British Columbia during the winter of 2010/11, this study assessed the degree of infection control that is practiced at clinics located in areas of ‘low-medium’ socioeconomic status – Vancouver, versus those located in areas of ‘high’ socioeconomic status – Westside Vancouver. Data was collected by visual observation and surveying of health care providers at 25 clinics located in Westside Vancouver and 35 clinics located in the remainder of Vancouver. Each clinic was assessed by means of 15 universal infection control criteria. The scores (x/15) of the clinics were aggregately graded in each region by converting to mean percentage and then analyzed by both descriptive and inferential statistics. The mean scores (%) obtained for clinics located in Westside Vancouver and the remainder of Vancouver were 72.8% and 72.4% respectively. Assuming normality in a two-sample Aspin-Welch Unequal-Variance T-test, it was concluded that there is no statistically significant difference between the level of infection control demonstrated at clinics located in regions of varying socioeconomic status (P = 0.902624). While scores were consistent between socioeconomic regions, the mean scores do suggest infection control deficiencies and room for improvement in these settings regardless of region. In addition to the issues observed amongst individual clinics, there is a need for more consistency. Poorly performing clinics must raise their standards to those observed amongst the study’s stronger performers. Recognizing the importance of preventive medicine may finally have reached a level where infection prevention and control in medical clinics ought to switch from unregulated recommendations to a set of regulated and standardized best practices.