Majority of ICUs Have Too Many Infections

US hospitals continue to have high healthcare-associated infection rates according to a joint report by the Leapfrog Group and Castlight Health.

US hospitals continue to have high healthcare-associated infection rates according to a joint report by the Leapfrog Group and Castlight Health.

Using voluntary reports from 1750 hospitals (about 46% of hospitals nationwide), the organizations determined that the majority of intensive care unit facilities are not meeting Leapfrog’s standardized infection ratio (SIR) for central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSIs) and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs). Combined, these infections cost nearly $10 billion annually.

The SIR is calculated as the facility’s actual infection rate divided by the expected infection rate and is used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others. The SIR for CLABSI should be 0 and the SIR for CAUTI should be close to 0, yet for both infections only about 25% of hospitals met this standard.

Of the hospitals surveyed, 67% had a CLABSI SIR between 0-1.0, 8% had an SIR above 1.0, and 1% had an SIR above 2.0. Approximately 33% of hospitals had a CAUTI SIR above 1.0. New Hampshire had the best record with 67% of their hospitals having a CLABSI SIR of 0; Maryland and Rhode Island had the worst record with no hospitals reporting CLABSI SIRs of 0.

All hospitals should be able to attain ideal SIRs so long as they adhere to safety guidelines regarding central lines and catheters, and following through with checklists and thorough handwashings.

If more providers reported to Leapfrog then they could “benchmark their own progress in achieving appropriate standards of care, and empower patients to make more informed decisions” by opting for safer facilities.