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Back to the Future

Some progress in healthcare can be helped by IT and technology and some can’t.

In the mid 19th Century Ignaz Semmelweis showed handwashing reduced cases of puerperal fever among new mothers. But newly published figures for care homes in 2005 make me wonder how far we have progressed. Clostridium difficile was mentioned as a cause of death in 144 cases.

In a low tech approach to reducing the march of superbugs like MRSA and c. difficile in UK hospitals, the Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson suggests patients should ask doctors if they have washed their hands. This is yet another example of the need to inform and empower patients.

Read Death toll from 'superbugs' is soaring for some background.

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