Grant Application

Project Team

Michaela Barry, MD, and Fatima Sanes Guevara, MD, Internal Medicine, UPMC Presbyterian-Shadyside, and Ashley Ayres, MBA, and Graham Snyder, MD, MS, Infection Prevention, UPMC Presbyterian-Shadyside

Proposed Innovation

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on any given day, 1 in 31 hospitalized patients will experience a hospital acquired infection. Many of these infections are caused by bacteria acquired while receiving care in the hospital.

Identifying ways these bacteria pass from patient to patient will translate into interventions to stop transmission and therefore prevent infection. This project will closely examine the attire of health care workers to determine how commonly long sleeves transmit pathogens such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and E. coli (Escherichia coli).

Improvements in Action

During this project, samples will be taken from the sleeves of 273 health care workers who do different types of patient care in the hospital and who wear different types of long-sleeved attire. The team will measure how frequently sleeves are contaminated, what types of factors increase the risk that sleeves are contaminated, and whether the bacteria on sleeves are related to the bacteria from patients diagnosed with infections in the hospital.

Intended Results

With the finding from this study, UPMC will learn whether a “bare below-the-elbows” clothing policy — or other guidance about health care worker attire — will prevent health care associated infections. To our knowledge, this is the first study investigating transmission via health care worker attire informed by whole genome sequencing.