Reorganization of nurse scheduling reduces the risk of healthcare associated infections


Efficient prevention and control of healthcare associated infections (HAIs) is still an open problem. Using contact data from wearable sensors at a short-stay geriatric ward, we propose a proof-of-concept modeling study that reorganizes nurse schedules for efficient infection control. This strategy switches and reassigns nurses’ tasks through the optimization of shift timelines, while respecting feasibility constraints and satisfying patient-care requirements. Through a Susceptible-Colonized-Susceptible transmission model, we found that schedules reorganization reduced HAI risk by 27% (95% confidence interval [24, 29]%) while preserving timeliness, number, and duration of contacts. More than 30% nurse-nurse contacts should be avoided to achieve an equivalent reduction through simple contact removal. Nurse scheduling can be reorganized to break potential chains of transmission and substantially limit HAI risk, while ensuring the timeliness and quality of healthcare services. This calls for including optimization of nurse scheduling practices in programs for infection control in hospitals.

In Scientific Reports
Eugenio Valdano
Eugenio Valdano
Principal Investigator