Healthcare Outreach Unit and Healthcare Associated Infections
To enhance emerging infectious disease preparedness and response efforts and improve
hospital disease reporting by hospitals in Los Angeles County through strengthened communications,
collaborations, and consolidation of resources.
In 2003, the Hospital Outreach Unit (HOU) was created as a result of the
SARS epidemic and designed to enhance disease and outbreak reporting between Los
Angeles County (LAC) public health and LAC hospitals. Healthcare
associated infection (HAI) consultation, outbreak investigation and strengthened
communication and collaboration between public health and LAC acute care
hospitals by interacting with infection preventionists, medical, nursing and
other healthcare clinicians, administrators, emergency departments and
laboratories and related essential staff.
Hospitals have undergone significant changes the past decade with
increased public scrutiny and legislative mandates that demand greater
accountability for patient safety. HOU staff collaborate with key hospital
departments to address concerns of multi-drug resistant organisms (MDRO),
including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Acinetobacter baumannii,
Pseuodmonas aeruginosa and Clostridium difficile, HAIs, infection prevention,
communicable disease reporting and patient safety.
Outbreak investigations are complex and based on an epidemiologic
approach to infectious disease transmission, evidence-based principles and best
practices. Frequently, field investigations are conducted and may include other
county or city departments, e.g. Health Facilities Inspection Division,
Environmental Health, Public Health Laboratory and the Los Angeles Department of
Water and Power.
A current database of LAC acute care hospital is maintained
by HOU staff to ensure quick and timely communication between public health and
high-level hospital staff when needed. Team staff also performs coroner's case
investigation and analysis of unusual deaths for diseases that may be emerging
or infectious and not reported through other sources.
Areas of Interest