Hospital-Associated Infections Remain a Concern

January 18, 2015
Eileen Oldfield Associate Editor

Despite hospitals' improved infection controls, 1 out of every 25 patients contracts at least 1 infection during his or her stay.

Despite hospitals’ improved infection controls, 1 out of every 25 patients contracts at least 1 infection during his or her stay, according to a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report.

“Hospitals have made real progress to reduce some types of health care-associated infections,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, in a press release. “The key is for every hospital to have rigorous infection control programs to protect patients and healthcare workers, and for health care facilities and others to work together to reduce the many types of infections that haven’t decreased enough.”

The CDC referenced the findings of its annual “National and State Healthcare-associated Infection Progress Report,” which summarizes data from the nation’s health care-associated infection tracking system. Health care facilities located across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico use the system.

On a national level, the report found:

· A 46% decrease in central line-associated bloodstream infections between 2008 and 2013.

· A 19% decrease in surgical site infections related to the 10 select procedures tracked in the report between 2008 and 2013.

· A 6% increase in catheter-associated urinary tract infections since 2009, though initial data from 2014 seemed to indicate that these infections have started to decrease.

· An 8% decrease in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infections between 2011 and 2013.

· A 10% decrease in Clostridium difficile infections between 2011 and 2013.

For the first time, the report included state-specific data regarding MRSA identified in hospital labs, bloodstream infections, and C. difficile infections. Each state’s infection control data was compared to a national baseline, though some states either did not report data or did not have enough data to report on all of the infections.

The report noted that 26 states performed better than the nation on at least 2 of the 6 infection types, while 16 states performed better on 3 or more infections, and 6 states performed better on 4 infections. Only 19 states performed worse than the national baseline on 2 infections, and 8 states performed worse on at least 3 infections.

The CDC noted that the report’s findings could be used to design, implement, and evaluate infection control measures.

“Health care-associated infection data give health care facilities and public health agencies knowledge to design, implement, and evaluate health care-associated infection prevention efforts,” said Patrick Conway, Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality and Chief Medical Officer of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, in a press release. “Medicare’s quality measurement reporting requires hospitals to share this information with the CDC, demonstrating that, together, we can dramatically improve the safety and quality of care for patients.”