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Original Article

Korean J healthc assoc Infect Control Prev 2019; 24(2): 88-96

Published online December 31, 2019 https://doi.org/10.14192/kjicp.2019.24.2.88

Copyright © Korean Society for Healthcare-associated Control and Prevention.

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Role of Laboratory Medicine Doctors and the Rising Importance on the Infection Control of Medical Facilities

Jae Hyeon Park1, Mi-Na Kim2, Hyukmin Lee3, Nam Hee Kim1,4, Sue Shin1,4

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine1, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine2, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Research Institute of Bacterial Resistance, Yonsei University College of Medicine3, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center4, Seoul, Korea

Received: March 31, 2019; Revised: June 4, 2019; Accepted: September 3, 2019

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background: Public concern for healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) has been rising since the outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus in Korea in 2015. HAI control has been an essential training curriculum for residents of laboratory medicine since 2007. This study aimed to investigate the role of the laboratory physician as an infection control doctor (ICD).
Methods: In March 2017, email surveys were conducted with the directors of or clinical microbiologists at the Department of Laboratory Medicine of 75 secondary- or tertiary-care hospitals. They collected data about hospital characteristics, infection control committees and departments, and careers in infection control; there were a total of 74 valid responses (98.7%).
Results: Fourteen of 38 teaching hospitals (36.8%) had an on-site resident training curriculum at the department of infection control. This increased to 11 of 26 hospitals (42.3%) where laboratory physicians were working as ICDs and 7 of 11 (63.7%) where the hospitals hosted more than 900 beds. A total of 51 of the hospitals (68.9%) had laboratory physicians as ICDs. Only nine of the other hospitals (39.1%) had enough ICDs of other specialties to meet the workforce standards for the infection control incentives; six (23.1%) had a shortage of laboratory physicians.
Conclusion: Laboratory physicians are major human resources of ICDs in the general hospitals; however, there is still a lack of laboratory physician ICDs in Korea. Therefore, on-site resident training curriculums for infection control should be implemented by all teaching hospitals.

Keywords: Infection control doctor, Laboratory medicine, Surveys and questionnaires

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