Monday, March 8, 2010

Healthcare Associated Infections

Hand washing helps prevent Healthcare-associated infections (HAI)

When someone develops an infection at a hospital or other patient care facility that the person didn’t have prior to treatment, the healthcare industry refers to this as a Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI) or hospital-acquired infection.

HAI’s are a global crisis affecting both patients and healthcare workers alike.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at any point in time, 1.4 million people worldwide suffer from infections acquired in hospitals.

A Center for Disease Control (CDC) report published in March-April 2007 estimated the number of U.S. deaths from healthcare associated infections in 2002 at 98,987.

The risk of acquiring healthcare-associated infections in developing countries is 2-20 times higher than in developed countries.Afflicting thousands of patients every year, HAI often leads to lengthening hospitalization, increasing the likelihood of readmission, and adding sizably to the cost of care per patient.

Financially, HAI’s represent an estimated annual impact of $6.7 billion to healthcare facilities, but the human cost is even higher.

Until recently, a lack of HAI reporting requirements for healthcare facilities has contributed to less-than-optimal emphasis being placed on eliminating the sources of healthcare associated infections. However, growing public anxiety regarding the issue and resulting legislation on state and local levels demanding accountability is serving to accelerate initiatives to combat HAI’s.

To learn more about the impact of healthcare-associated infections for both medical professionals and patients, please visit

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