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The Duke Infection Control Outreach Network (DICON) was formed in 1998 and has since grown to include 43 community hospitals in 5 states. In addition, DICON has educational agreements with hospitals across the United States and internationally.

DICON’s primary goal is to improve quality of care, enhance patient safety, and minimize costs by using evidence-based approaches to infection prevention in community hospitals.

Controlling infections is a struggle for hospitals everywhere, and achieving this goal becomes more complicated each year as new technologies and procedures are creating new infection control problems. Antimicrobial resistance has increased to an alarming level and tighter budgets and staff cutbacks are making it harder for many hospitals to meet increasingly complex infection control regulations. The converging impact of these trends is particularly unfortunate and ill-timed at community hospitals where budgets are restructured, revenues are falling, and where infection control programs are usually managed by nurses with numerous additional responsibilities.

Community hospitals and surgery centers face the difficult task of providing state-of-the art, safe care while meeting complex mandates and regulations imposed by agencies such as The Joint Commission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

These regulatory agencies’ rules help ensure patient safety and a safe work environment, but can overwhelm the staff and budgets of small to medium-sized community hospitals. In addition, increased antimicrobial resistance is making it harder for many hospitals to meet increasingly complex infection control regulations.

The Duke Infection Control Outreach Network (DICON) has been helping community hospitals and surgery centers address these issues for over 10 years. DICON provides sophisticated data analysis and metrics, access to experts in infection control, opportunities to share successful programs, and extensive educational initiatives related to infection prevention.

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