The Framework for Eliminating HAIs

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are one of the leading causes of death in the United States and are becoming increasingly problematic for hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout the country. The World Health Organization has reported that approximately 1.4 million people have an HAI at any given time. Compounding the problem is that little is known about the burden of infections outside of hospitals, particularly in long-term care facilities, ambulatory surgical centers, and other outpatient settings. The emergence of HAIs caused by multidrug-resistant microorganisms is another increasing concern. As Americans continue to age and healthcare costs continue to rise, the elimination of HAIs is paramount for improving patient health and healthcare savings. “The number of people who become sick or die from HAIs is unacceptably high, and these infections cause a significant financial burden,” says Denise Cardo, MD. “As consumers are increasingly asking for transparency and accountability in healthcare, their expectations on how well these infections are managed will continue to increase. This is a unique and timely opportunity to move toward the elimination of these infections.” Inconsistent Implementation According to Dr. Cardo, tried and true preventive measures for HAIs are inconsistently implemented. “The success of prevention efforts has varied considerably from one setting to the next,” she says. “However, we have a growing body of knowledge that defines a full range of prevention interventions that can address specific HAIs when consistently applied across settings. HAIs can be eliminated by implementing a proven framework for prevention at all levels of healthcare delivery. For the infections that we know how to prevent, we must prevent them consistently and effectively. For the infections...