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ARTICLE JAMA Study Projects Major Savings by Curbing Health Care-Related Infections

JAMA Study Projects Major Savings by Curbing Health Care-Related Infections

Sept. 6, 2013

A new study reports that total annual costs for the five major health care-associated infections (HAIs) were $9.8 billion, with surgical site infections the most common. Researchers for JAMA Internal Medicine, published by the Journal of the American Medical Association Network, believe new payment incentives for hospitals and other health care providers under payment reforms can effectively address the issue.

"As one of the most common sources of preventable harm, health care-associated infections (HAIs) represent a major threat to patient safety," the study reports. "The purpose of this study was to generate estimates of the costs associated with the most significant and targetable HAIs."

The most costly HAIs include the following:

  • Central-line associated bloodstream infections at $45,814
  • Ventilator-associated pneumonia at $40,144
  • Surgical site infections at $20,785
  • Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) at $111,285 (causes infectious diarrhea)
  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infection at $896.

The study notes, "While quality improvement initiatives have decreased HAI incidence and costs, much more remains to be done. As hospitals realize savings from prevention of these complications under payment reforms, they may be more likely to invest in such strategies." The study was sponsored by the Texas Medical Institute of Technology as part of a donation promoting research on patient safety.