Total annual costs for five major healthcare-associated infections were $9.8 billion, with surgical site infections contributing the most to overall costs, according to a report.
HAIs are associated with high costs, and better evaluation of the cost of these infections could help providers and payers justify investing in prevention, according to background information in the study by Eyal Zimlichman, MD, MSc, of Brigham and Womens Hospital and the Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues.
As published Sept. 2 on the website of the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers reviewed published medical literature for the years 1986 through April 2013. They used the CDCs National Healthcare Safety network to estimate HAI incidence rates.
As one of the most common sources of preventable harm, healthcare-associated infections represent a major threat to patient safety, the authors wrote. The purpose of this study was to generate estimates of the costs associated with the most significant and targetable HAIs.
According to the results, on a per-case basis, central line-associated bloodstream infections were found to be the most costly HAIs at $45,814, followed by ventilator-associated pneumonia at $40,144, surgical site infections at $20,785, Clostridium difficile infections at $11,285 and catheter-associated urinary tract infections at $896.
In all, SSIs contributed 33.7% of the $9.8 billion, followed by VAP at 31.6%. Further back were CLABSIs (18.9%), C. difficile (15.4%) and CAUTIs (less than 1%).
While quality improvement initiatives have decreased HAI incidence and costs, much more remains to be done, the authors wrote. As hospitals realize savings from prevention of these complications under payment reforms, they may be more likely to invest in such strategies.
Study abstract: http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1733452.