New CDC Data Show Significant Decline in Hospital Infection Rates

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Rates for four common hospital-acquired infections declined in 2010, as hospitals nationwide made significant progress in implementing prevention strategies, according to CDC data released on Wednesday, National Journal reports.

According to CDC, about 1.7 million patients annually -- or roughly one in 20 -- will contract an HAI, and about 99,000 patients will die from the infection (Fox, National Journal, 10/19).

Key Details

For the report, the agency analyzed data from its National Healthcare Safety Network infection monitoring system for more than 3,000 hospitals nationwide.

The results showed that central line-associated bloodstream infection rates declined by 33% (McKinney, Modern Healthcare, 10/19). Specifically, it found a 35% decrease in CLABSIs among critical care patients and a 26% decrease among non-critical care patients (CDC release, 10/19).

CDC also found that:

  • Health care-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection rates dropped by 18%;
  • Surgical-site infection rates declined by 10%; and
  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infection rates dropped by 7% (Modern Healthcare, 10/19).

In addition, CDC found improved health care provider adherence to evidence-based infection prevention measures. For example, the agency found more than 94% adherence to protocols establishing appropriate techniques for central line catheter insertion (CDC release, 10/19).

The agency partly attributed the progress to HHS' 2009 "Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections," which established infection reduction goals for the U.S. health care system and encouraged data collection on HAIs.

However, the report said that continued efforts are required to achieve the action plan's goals and further reduce infections (National Journal, 10/19).


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