Hospital Infection Control Measures Fail To Meet National Goals: CDC Report

A new government report suggests that significant progress has been made in reducing hospital infections, however the rate of those infections is not dropping as fast as health officials had hoped. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published its annual National and State Healthcare-associated Infection Progress Report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on March 10, which examines national and state-by-state statistics on hospital infections.

The report is also available on the CDC website, looking at data from more than 14,500 hospitals and healthcare facilities in 2013. The report is used to find problem areas and to determine which tactics for reducing infections are working.

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Amid improvements in hospital infection control measures, CDC researchers found that there was a 46% decrease in central line-associated bloodstream infections from 2008 to 2013, a 19% decrease in surgical site infections in the same time period, a 10% decrease in C. difficile infections between 2011 and 2013, and an eight percent decrease in the number of hospital-onset methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infections from 2011 to 2013.

Despite the progress in most areas, researchers found that catheter-associated urintary tract infections actually rose six percent from 2009 to 2013. However, researchers indicate that early data coming in since 2013 already appears to show that those infections are starting to decline.

“This report shows that although significant progress was made in some infection types, there is much more work to be done,” the report states. “On any given day, approximately one in 25 patients has at least one infection contracted during the course of their hospital care, demonstrating the need for improved infection control in U.S. healthcare facilities.”

According to the findings, the reductions failed to meet a set of hospital associated infection reduction goals set in a 2009 HAI action plan set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In recent years, an increasing number of medical malpractice lawsuits over hospital infections are being filed, as many experts believe that these infections can be prevented with the exercise of reasonable care.

According to prior research, preventable hospital infections cost the U.S. Economy nearly $19.5 billion in 2008 and claimed more than 2,500 lives that year.

Implementation of simple procedures, such as more frequent hand washing for healthcare professionals, timely removal of catheters deterring prolonged use and thorough instrument and patient room cleaning are widely recognized steps that can prevent many of these hospital infection problems.

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