Headlines

December 13, 2012
Vaccine Refused, our new project to facilitate data collection from point of refusal, was released in the iTunes App Store for use by U.S. medical professionals.


November 9, 2012
Dr. Philip Polgreen and graduate student Jason Fries were featured on Iowa Public Radio discussing our research on hand hygiene in hospitals. Iowa Public Radio


February 1, 2012
Our article The Use of Twitter to Track Levels of Disease Activity and Public Concern in the U.S. During the Influenza A H1N1 Pandemic has won the Robert Wood Johnson’s Foundation Most Influential Research Articles of 2011.


March 4, 2011
Check out our new PLoS One article on Twitter and the H1N1 pandemic.


April 21, 2011
A new iScrub article on Infection Control Today (ICT)! iScrub Phone App Pilot Project Boost Hand Hygiene Compliance


April 4, 2011
iScrub in the news! New iPhone application improved hand hygiene compliance


April 1, 2011
CompEpi presented some new research at the 21st Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA 2011) in Dallas, Texas. Read more


December 1, 2010
Our group was well-represented at the International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS 2010) in Park City, Utah. Read more


May 4, 2010
Do health care professionals perform hand hygiene? We’ve got an app for that! Read the press release.


March 17, 2010
The Fifth Decennial International Conference on Healthcare Associated Infections advance press release features CompEpi research.


November 5, 2009
CompEpi graduate students Jason Fries, Donald Curtis, and Chris Hlady were winners in the Faculty/Staff/Graduate Assistant Business Plan Competition, hosted by the UI Business College’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, where they pitched the next generation iScrub system.


September 9, 2009
iScrub, our new iPhone/iPod Touch application for infection control professionals, is now available online at the Apple iTunes store.


June 18, 2009
Try our Maximal Coverage Calculator for near-optimal placement of sentinel surveillence sites.


More news…

Social Networks of Healthcare Worker and Patient Interactions


Our first effort to model the spread of nosocomial infections was a traditional observational study, where we measured contacts between healthcare workers and patients at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC), a 700-bed comprehensive academic medical center and regional referral center in Iowa City. Data were collected by randomly selecting UIHC employees from each of 15 job classifications and then using graduate students to ‘‘shadow’’ the 149 selected employees and manually record their every human contact (within approximately three feet) over a total of 640 hours. A total of 6,654 contacts were recorded, with each contact indicating type of contact (patient or category of healthcare worker), location, length of contact time, whether physical contact was made, whether the contact took place in a patient room, and whether handwashing/sanitizing occurred prior to contact.

Using a generalization of the well-known Erdõs-Rènyi model for random graphs, we can generate contact networks from these observational data by making two important simplifying assumptions: first, healthcare workers of the same type are assumed to have the same contact probabilities, and, second, edges between different pairs of agents are placed independently. Notwithstanding these assumptions, the contact networks generated in this fashion are quite consistent with the observed data. Using simulation studies based on these contact networks, we proposed and evaluated? a targeted vaccination strategy, where vaccination priority is determined by type of healthcare worker. The general idea is that workers with relatively higher connectivity to other workers and patients (as defined by the underlying contact network) should have higher priority in situations where, e.g., vaccine is in limited supply. The results show that this particular vaccination strategy leads to a reduction in attack rate over a broad range of simulation parameters. Additional simulations were used to model related issues, such as the use of quarantine and associated policy decisions.