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Elimination Of Healthcare Associated Infections


In its oft-cited 1992 study, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that annual hospital-acquired infections nationally number over 2 million, resulting in 90,000 deaths a year and $4.5 billion in excess healthcare costs. The research shows a range of cost estimates, some suggesting excess costs may be two to four times that amount. In long-term care facilities, the CDC estimated an additional 1.5 million health-care associated infections occur each year.

Based on this CDC estimate, patients in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts may be suffering more than 45,000 hospital-acquired infections each year, and nearly 2,000 deaths as a result of these infections. Successful implementation of safe practices to prevent these infections might save from $200 $473 million annually in healthcare costs, and more importantly, reduce the suffering of patients and families from the death and disability resulting from these infections.

The Massachusetts Coalition for the Prevention of Medical Errors is committed to working to eliminate hospital-acquired infections. The Coalition works with multi-disciplinary teams of front- line staff, as well as managers and hospital leaders to make rapid, meaningful, and long-lasting changes in care while partnering with patients and families to prevent infections.

With the involvement and support of Coalition member organizations, the Coalitions infection prevention initiative shares successful implementation strategies among hospitals, engages senior leadership to ensure support for the improvement teams in hospitals, and reaches out to engage and activate consumers as partners in their care, and advocates and advisors for improvement. The Coalitions initiative is structured as an improvement collaborative, with educational programs to share tools and strategies among participating teams.

The Coalition also strongly supports public reporting of clinically meaningful measures of hospital infections. This is the transparency required from our healthcare system; consumers should have such information on the safety and quality of their healthcare.

The Coalition relies on the expertise, efforts, and involvement of all of its members to achieve its goals. Together, the Coalition and its members are committing to this significant improvement in healthcare in our state, making Massachusetts healthcare the safest in the nation.

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