Of nearly 2,000 members of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology responding to a survey in late March, 41% reported cuts in budgets for infection prevention in the past 18 months, primarily because of the economic downturn.
A quarter of respondents have reduced surveillance activities to detect, track, and manage healthcare-associated infections, according to a news release from APIC. Three-quarters of those whose budgets were cut have experienced decreases for the education that trains healthcare workers in preventing the transmission of HAIs. Half saw reductions in overall budgets for infection prevention, including money for technology, staff, education, products, equipment, and updated resources. Nearly 40% had layoffs or reduced hours, and one-third experienced hiring freezes.
Technology is lagging, too, according to the news release. Only one in five respondents has a data-mining program an electronic surveillance system that allows infection preventionists to identify and investigate potential infections in real time, enabling them to intervene quickly.