The following is a set of graphics from the November 2012 issue of Scientific American. It is a good example of a variation on the “spaghetti diagram” that shows either movement of people or objects in a space or, as in this case, convey the touch points (literally) between people in various roles.
Hospitals shouldn’t make you sicker. But plenty of people acquire illnesses while hospitalized—in some countries, such so-called nosocomial infections afflict more than 10 percent of patients.
To investigate transmission pathways, European researchers of the SocioPatterns collaboration fitted 119 people in a ward of the Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital with radio-frequency identification (RFID) badges. The tags registered face-to-face interactions—and the potential spreading of airborne pathogens.
Nurses interacted with the widest variety of individuals across the ward—patients, doctors, other nurses, and so on. The study indicates that nurses should take priority in strategies for preventing or controlling hospital outbreaks.