News | November 20, 2006

Studies Fault U.S. Hospital Procedures in Infections

Hospital practices are more to blame than how sick a person is for infections acquired by hospital patients, researchers reported on Monday, urging medical centers to do more to curb these infections.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month estimated that infections caught in U.S. hospitals kill 90,000 people annually and urged hospitals to do more to track and prevent the infections.

Putting a spotlight on the topic, the American Journal of Medical Quality issued three studies on hospital-acquired infections. Two put the blame more on hospital procedures than on how a sick patient was when he or she checked in.

The third study burst the myth that hospitals actually make more money when patients get these infections, saying hospitals lost thousands of dollars for each such patient.

"The main message here to us was a hospital-acquired infection is not to be considered a sort of byproduct of an extremely ill person coming to a hospital in the United States," said the journal's editor, Dr. David Nash of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Researchers examined data on surgical wound infections in Pennsylvania to gauge whether the severity of patient illness upon arrival at a hospital or events that took place at the hospital were more to blame.

They judged that both factors had an effect, but more of the risk hinged on what transpired inside the hospital.

Researcher Christopher Hollenbeak said patients who smoked, had diabetes or were obese were at increased risk for surgical wound infections. But he pointed to hospital practices like techniques for hair removal, people coming in and out of the operating room and duration of the surgery as factors that increased risk of infection.

"Of course, certain patient characteristics turned out to be important. But they were essentially swamped by the hospital characteristics," Nash said.

Pennsylvania last week became the first U.S. state to issue infection data for individual hospitals. More than 19,000 patients came down with an infection last year in the state's 168 hospitals, and 2,478 of these patients died.

Researchers examined the economic impacts of certain bloodstream infections at a Pittsburgh hospital. They wanted to determine whether hospitals actually made money when a patient ended up being treated not only for the original condition that caused hospitalization but the subsequent infection as well.

Out of 54 cases over three years, the hospital received payment of $64,894, with an average expense of $91,733 for an average estimated loss of $26,839, the study found.

Nash called it "the first time that we had solid evidence that this was actually a money-losing proposition for hospitals."

Related Content

Wake Radiology Launches First Installation of EnvoyAI Platform
News | Artificial Intelligence | June 13, 2018
Artificial intelligence (AI) platform provider EnvoyAI recently completed their first successful customer installation...
PACS and the Road to Reconstruction
Feature | PACS | June 05, 2018 | By Dave Whitney and Jef Williams
The PACS — picture archiving and communication systems — have been in existence for more than 45 years. One of the...
Intelerad Introduces InteleOne Maestro Enterprise Workflow Orchestration Solution
Technology | PACS Accessories | May 31, 2018
Intelerad Medical Systems announced the release of InteleOne Maestro, its new enterprise imaging workflow orchestration...
Konica Minolta Releases New Turn-Around-Time Feature for Exa Workflow
Technology | PACS | May 30, 2018
Konica Minolta Healthcare Americas Inc. will introduce a new worklist feature, Turn-Around-Time (TAT), for its Exa...
Illuminate and Medexprim Partner to Enhance PACS Data Mining
News | PACS | May 30, 2018
U.S.-based Softek Illuminate and the entrepreneurial French firm Medexprim will be combining, distributing and...
Intelerad Launches AI Initiative for Imaging Workflow Intelligence and Analytics
News | Artificial Intelligence | May 29, 2018
Intelerad Medical Systems announced the launch of its artificial intelligence (AI) initiative along with the expansion...
Australia's Largest Public Health System Selects Sectra for Enterprise Imaging IT Solution
News | PACS | May 24, 2018
Australia’s NSW Health signed a Proof of Concept agreement naming Sectra as the preferred vendor for a large enterprise...
Mach7 Technologies and Client Outlook Partner on Reconstructed Enterprise PACS Solution
News | Enterprise Imaging | May 23, 2018
May 23, 2018 — Mach7 Technologies and Client Outlook announced their expanded partnership to focus on today’s prevale
News | Enterprise Imaging | May 17, 2018
Enterprise imaging workflow software provider Laurel Bridge Software announced new capabilities for its Compass -...
EnvoyAI, TeraRecon and Insignia Bringing Artificial Intelligence to U.K. Customers
Technology | Advanced Visualization | May 11, 2018
EnvoyAI announced a new integration with Insignia Medical Systems’ InSight PACS (picture archiving and communication...
Overlay Init