Modelling pathogen spread in a healthcare network: Indirect patient movements

by Monika J. Piotrowska, Konrad Sakowski, Andre Karch, Hannan Tahir, Johannes Horn, Mirjam E. Kretzschmar, Rafael T. Mikolajczyk

Inter-hospital patient transfers (direct transfers) between healthcare facilities have been shown to contribute to the spread of pathogens in a healthcare network. However, the impact of indirect transfers (patients re-admitted from the community to the same or different hospital) is not well studied. This work aims to study the contribution of indirect transfers to the spread of pathogens in a healthcare network. To address this aim, a hybrid network–deterministic model to simulate the spread of multiresistant pathogens in a healthcare system was developed for the region of Lower Saxony (Germany). The model accounts for both, direct and indirect transfers of patients. Intra-hospital pathogen transmission is governed by a SIS model expressed by a system of ordinary differential equations. Our results show that the proposed model reproduces the basic properties of healthcare-associated pathogen spread. They also show the importance of indirect transfers: restricting the pathogen spread to direct transfers only leads to 4.2% system wide prevalence. However, adding indirect transfers leads to an increase in the overall prevalence by a factor of 4 (18%). In addition, we demonstrated that the final prevalence in the individual healthcare facilities depends on average length of stay in a way described by a non-linear concave function. Moreover, we demonstrate that the network parameters of the model may be derived from administrative admission/discharge records. In particular, they are sufficient to obtain inter-hospital transfer probabilities, and to express the patients’ transfers as a Markov process. Using the proposed model, we show that indirect transfers of patients are equally or even more important as direct transfers for the spread of pathogens in a healthcare network.

Make more money selling and advertising your products and services for free on Ominy market. Click here to start selling now

READ MORE  Medicalization of female genital cutting in Malaysia: A mixed methods study

Paper source

Ominy science editory team

A team of dedicated users that search, fetch and publish research stories for Ominy science.

Enable notifications of new posts    OK No thanks