Emerging diseases/new outbreaks: a Becker’s 2017 Top 10 Patient Safety Issue

N.B. — This post is one in a series of ten, based on Becker’s Infection Control & Clinical Quality article 10 top patient safety issues for 2017 by Heather Punke & Brian Zimmerman and published on January 18, 2017 (http://patientsafetymovement.org/challenges-solutions/actionable-patient-safety-solutions-apss/).

Emerging diseases/new outbreaks. The Zika virus captured the attention of both the public and infectious disease experts alike in 2016. As of Nov. 30, the CDC [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] had tallied 1,172 Zika infections among pregnant women in the United States. The infections have resulted in the delivery of 32 infants with birth defects. An additional five fetuses with birth defects were lost in pregnancy due to Zika.

In October, Dr. [Thomas] Frieden [MD, MPH], Director of the CDC, described the spread of pathogens like Zika as the ‘new normal’ in an age of global travel and trade, dense metropolises and climate change.

Emerging diseases like Zika in 2016 and Ebola in 2014 will continue to present problems for hospitals as they encounter communities where immunities have yet to be developed. Infectious disease experts should do their best to keep themselves apprised of emerging viruses like Mayaro, Rift Valley fever or Usutu that could cause outbreaks in the future.

An emerging pathogen to watch in 2017 is a deadly yeast infection that made its way to the U.S. for the first time in 2016, infecting 19 people thus far. The CDC expects more cases in the future. Some strains of the yeast infection, called C. auris, have developed resistances to all three major classes of antifungal drugs. The deadly yeast has caused outbreaks in healthcare settings in multiple countries across several continents.”

The foregoing quote from the Becker’s Infection Control & Clinical Quality e-publication implies that constantly running automated processes designed to monitor various local and global public health parameters indicative of pending epidemics  would provide early warning for healthcare providers locally and globally, and for national and global health agencies. Not doubt similar techniques are in operation already. By applying an appropriate information technology (IT) that is compliant with the Cloud Healthcare Appliance Real-Time Solution as a Service Reference Architecture (CHARTSaaS RA), providers and monitoring agencies could create and operate such processes, and could modify them easily to accommodate new knowledge and/or to customize for local conditions.

Please validate this automated process proposition to your own satisfaction by reviewing the details of CHARTSaaS and the CHARTSaaS RA in these presentations, and then by imagining a CHARTSaaS-enabled IT solution:


Healthcare providers and their patients will benefit significantly from appreciating and then applying a CHARTSaaS RA-compliant IT solution. To do so will mitigate medical mistakes (currently the  third leading cause of patient deaths, per Makaray and Daniel, http://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i2139), thereby minimizing  patient adverse events; and also will optimize clinical case outcomes while maximizing the cost-effectiveness of care and treatment and accelerating the accrual of medical knowledge.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *