In 1997, the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network (DICON) was formed to advance efforts that improve quality of care, enhance patient safety, and minimize costs by using evidence based approaches to infection control. A collaboration between Duke and 60+ community hospitals, DICON is focused on improving infection control programs by compiling data on nosocomial infections at member hospitals, identifying trends and areas for improvement, and providing ongoing education and leadership to community providers.

Duke physicians and nurses specializing in infection control work with existing hospital staff to identify practices and policies that will improve patient care and/or reduce unnecessary medical supply costs, additional inpatient days, non-reimbursed readmissions and related causes of patient dissatisfaction. When problems in infection control or patient safety policies or practices are identified, corrective action plans are developed that are designed to both correct the immediate problem and prevent its recurrence.

DICON has had significant and substantial impact on reducing the risk of post-surgical, device-related, and bloodstream infections as well as helping to reduce the risk of blood and body fluid exposures for employees in DICON-affiliated hospitals through the following means:

  • Regular visits by seight full-time infection preventionists
  • A standardized database and uniform surveillance methods designed to provide meaningful and useful local data to doctors and nurses in community hospitals
  • Sophisticated data analyses
  • Extensive educational training courses
  • Newsletters, annual symposia, and educational lectures

Network Composition and Activities

Originally developed as a collaborative network of 5 hospitals, DICON has grown to include:

  • 60+ hospitals and surgery centers in six states (NC, SC, VA, FL, GA, WV)
  • Small community hospitals, large regional medical centers, outpatient surgery centers ranging in size from 30 to 685 beds
  • 12,000 occupied beds (cumulative)
  • 45,000 employees (cumulative)

In 2016, DICON was proud to become one of the founding partners in the Duke Center for Antimicrobial Stewardship and Infection Prevention.