According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, many bacterial infections could be prevented if healthcare workers practiced common hygiene.
“Although there has been some progress, today and every day more than 200 Americans with healthcare-associated infections will die during their hospital stay,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden. “The most advanced medical care won’t work if clinicians don’t prevent infections through basic things such as regular hand hygiene.”
The data came from 183 U.S. hospitals in 2011. That year, the CDC survey found that about 721,800 infections occurred in 648,000 hospital patients. Some 75,000 patients with healthcare-associated infections died during their hospitalizations.
The most common infections were pneumonia and surgical site infections, followed by gastrointestinal infections, urinary tract infections, and bloodstream infections. The statistics were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
A second report out Wednesday from the CDC found that nationwide, such infections are on the decline in recent years. Bloodstream infections were down 44 percent between 2008 and 2012, and infections related to 10 selected surgical procedures were down 20 percent in the same timeframe.
The United Sates is “making progress in preventing healthcare-associated infections,” said Patrick Conway, chief medical officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). He said the gains come from three main mechanisms, including financial incentives, performance measures and public reporting to improve transparency, and increased use of interventions that have proven effective. “This progress represents thousands of lives saved, prevented patient harm, and the associated reduction in costs across our nation.”