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Despite Progress, three-quarters of a million infections threaten hospital patients each year

Categories: Antimicrobial Resistance, BSIs, CAUTI, CLABSI, Clostridium difficile, Healthcare-associated infections, Long Term Care (LTC), NHSN, State HAI Prevention

National and State Healthcare-associated Infections Progress Report. This report is based on 2012 data, Published March 2014

National and State Healthcare-associated Infections Progress Report. This report is based on 2012 data, Published March 2014

Despite Progress, three-quarters of a million infections threaten hospital patients each year
National and state data detail threat of healthcare-associated infections and opportunities for further improvements.

CDC released two reports today – one, a New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) article detailing national healthcare-associated infection estimates, and the other an annual report on national and state-specific progress toward U.S. Health and Human Services HAI prevention goals. Together, the reports show that progress has been made in the effort to eliminate infections that commonly threaten hospital patients, but more work is needed to improve patient safety.

The NEJM article updates the burden numbers for healthcare-associated infections in hospitals.  On any given day, 1 of every 25 patients had 1 or more infections related to their hospital stay.   That means about 722,000 infections a year related to medical care.  One of every 9 patients who gets an infection will die during their hospitalization.

This article sounds the alarm about threats we need to address now.  It tells us that lung infections, gut infections, surgical infections and infection from urinary catheters are harming the most patients.

Some of the top pathogens attacking patients are: 

  • C. difficile, or deadly diarrhea,
  • Staph, including the drug-resistant type known as MRSA,
  • a family of germs known as Enterobacteriaceae, that includes CRE the “nightmare bacteria,”

The second report, CDC’s National and State Healthcare-associated Infection Progress Report, includes national and state-by-state summaries of infection types that are commonly required to be reported to CDC. The Progress Report looked at data submitted to CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), the nation’s healthcare-associated infection tracking system.   On the national level, the report found a:

  • 44 percent decrease in central line-associated bloodstream infections between 2008 and 2012
  • 20 percent decrease in infections related to the 10 surgical procedures tracked in the report between 2008 and 2012
  • 4 percent decrease in hospital-onset MRSA bloodstream infections between 2011 and 2012
  • 2 percent decrease in hospital-onset C. difficile infections between 2011 and 2012
  • 3 percent increase in catheter-associated urinary tract infections

At the federal and state levels, CDC uses this information to find facilities that need help and target resources where they are most needed.

To access both reports and to see the updated healthcare-associated infection data, see CDC’s website:

Watch a new video on Healthcare-Associated Infections.

CDC/CMS Team Up to Provide Consumers Access to Local Hospital Patient Safety Data

Categories: CLABSI, Healthcare-associated infections, NHSN

Daniel Pollock, MD

Daniel Pollock, MD

Author: Dan Pollock
CDC, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, Surveillance Branch Chief

CMS announced today that its Hospital Compare website now includes central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) data reported from hospital ICUs to CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). In many places, this is the first time consumers can see how well their local hospitals prevent CLABSIs, one of the most deadly and preventable healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).   

These data reflect hospital performance during the first quarter of 2011.  In many cases, there was not enough data to produce a valid score for a specific hospital.  As new data are added each quarter to Hospital Compare, enough information will be available to report accurate measures for more hospitals.  A view of statewide progress is also available, based on data from hospitals that participate in CMS’s Value-Based Purchasing program.

Consumers are encouraged to research their local hospitals on Hospital Compare and use the information as a discussion point with their healthcare providers.  The information should not be used as the sole factor in choice of hospital. 

New guidelines to prevent catheter-related infections

Categories: BSIs, CLABSI, Healthcare-associated infections, HICPAC

Naomi O’Grady, MD

Naomi O’Grady, MD

Guest Author – Naomi O’Grady, MD
National Institutes of Health
Medical Director, Clinical Center’s Vascular Access and Conscious Sedation Services.

Recently, hospital-acquired infections have become an important benchmark of hospital quality and patient safety. Many hospitals are now being required to report patient safety data, and some of this data includes infection rates.

I am proud to announce the release of the updated Guideline to Prevent Intravascular Catheter Related Infections. Clinicians and infection control personnel now have the most recent published information on how to best eliminate these types of infections.

$10 Million Dollars to Save Countless Lives

Categories: Antibiotic use, BSIs, CLABSI, Healthcare-associated infections, MRSA

John A. Jernigan, MD, MS

John A. Jernigan, MD, MS

Author – John Jernigan, M.D.
CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion

Today, I am proud to announce that my office is awarding $10 million for new research to five academic medical centers as part of our Prevention Epicenter grant program.  This program supports efforts to develop and test innovative approaches to reducing infections in healthcare settings. It is more than research – we are taking novel discoveries and translating them into clinical practice.  These efforts save lives.

We founded the Prevention Epicenter program in 1997.  CDC staff work closely with academic investigators to discover solutions, and refine them so they can work to prevent infections for all healthcare settings.  It has been thrilling over the years to watch the innovations in infection prevention that have come out of this program.  Some of our biggest breakthroughs in infection prevention and strategies to save lives have been rooted in research of the Prevention Epicenter program.

Some of the breakthroughs that I have been particularly proud of are:

  • using skin antiseptic in routine bathing of patients to prevent HAIs, including the use of chlorhexidine to prevent Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) infections,
  • developing cutting edge methods for detecting HAIs such as using computer algorithms to detect  bloodstream infections, and
  • pioneering a new method for determining the effectiveness of HAI prevention strategies among a large group of hospitals. 

Infections in ICUs Plummeting, Too Many Remain in Hospitals and Dialysis Clinics

Categories: Antimicrobial Resistance, BSIs, CLABSI, Dialysis, Gram negatives, Healthcare-associated infections, MRSA, NHSN

Arjun Srinivasan, MD

Arjun Srinivasan, MD

Author – Arjun Srinivasan, MD
CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion

As you know, bloodstream infections in patients with central lines can be deadly, killing as many as 1 in 4 patients who gets them. The newest edition of the CDC Vital Signs reports a major decrease in central-line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) in intensive care unit (ICU) patients. This is an important triumph for patient safety and brings me a renewed sense of hope toward the elimination of HAIs. It also solidifies an expectation that infection prevention should be a priority in order to improve the safety of patients.

While progress is promising, about 60,000 bloodstream infections in patients with central lines still occurred outside of ICUs and in dialysis centers, according to our report. Much of this is preventable harm. We have to make every effort to ensure patients are protected in all healthcare facilities, all the time. So, how do we do that?
The good news is that everyone can contribute to preventing CLABSIs, no matter where the patient receives care.

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