Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Inexpensive infection control measures could save thousands of lives, billions of dollars

Date:
September 12, 2011
Source:
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Summary:
At any given time, one of every 20 hospital patients has a hospital-acquired infection, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This leads to an estimated 99,000 deaths in the U.S. each year and up to $33 billion in preventable health care costs. Now a new study finds that adopting an inexpensive set of infection control measures could potentially save many thousands of lives and billions of dollars.

At any given time, one of every 20 hospital patients has a hospital-acquired infection, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Related Articles


This leads to an estimated 99,000 deaths in the U.S. each year and up to $33 billion in preventable health care costs.

Now a new study by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers finds that adopting an inexpensive set of infection control measures could potentially save many thousands of lives and billions of dollars. The study appears in the September 2011 issue of Health Affairs.

"These two initiatives, targeting ventilator associated pneumonias and central line associated bloodstream infections, involved simple steps that lead to dramatic reductions in not only the targeted infections, but also mortality and costs," said Bradford D. Harris, MD, who led the study while serving as an associate professor of anesthesiology and pediatrics in the UNC School of Medicine. He is now a medical officer at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Washington.

The study was conducted in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at North Carolina Children's Hospital, which is one of the five University of North Carolina Hospitals. The study tested three interventions aimed at preventing and reducing hospital acquired infections.

The first intervention was strict enforcement of standard hand hygiene practices on the unit. All health care workers are expected to wash their hands with soap and running water or an alcohol-based rub on entering and leaving a patient's room, before putting on and after removing gloves, and before and after any task that involves touching potentially contaminated surfaces or body fluids.

The second intervention was implementing a bundle of measures aimed at preventing ventilator-associated pneumonia. Examples included elevating the head of the patient's bed while the patient is receiving breathing assistance from a ventilator, giving the patient daily breaks from sedation and then -- while the patient was unsedated -- assessing whether or not the patient is ready to come off the ventilator, and providing daily oral care (teeth brushing, mouth washes, etc.) with a long-lasting antiseptic.

The final intervention was ensuring compliance with guidelines for the use and maintenance of central-line catheters. Examples included using sponges impregnated with an antiseptic, using catheters impregnated with antibiotics whenever possible, and performing two assessments per day of whether patients with central-line catheters still needed them.

Results of the study showed that patients admitted after these interventions were fully implemented got out of the hospital an average of two days earlier, their hospital stay cost about $12,000 less and the number of patient deaths were reduced by two percentage points.

The costs for implementing these measures were modest. Examples include roughly $21 a day for oral care kits and about 60 cents a day for antiseptic patches and hand sanitizers. But adoption of the three interventions collectively could save this single hospital unit an estimated $12 million a year, the study found. If replicated nationwide, these measures potentially could save thousands of lives and billions of dollars each year.

The study concluded that measures such as these have the potential to save both lives and money and will improve the care of all patients.

UNC co-authors of the study are Cherissa Hanson, MD; Claudia Christy, Tina Adams, Andrew Banks and Tina Schade Willis, MD. Matthew Maciejewski, PhD, an associate professor at Duke University School of Medicine who holds adjunct professor appointments at UNC, is also a co-author.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. B. D. Harris, C. Hanson, C. Christy, T. Adams, A. Banks, T. S. Willis, M. L. Maciejewski. Strict Hand Hygiene And Other Practices Shortened Stays And Cut Costs And Mortality In A Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Health Affairs, 2011; 30 (9): 1751 DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2010.1282

Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "Inexpensive infection control measures could save thousands of lives, billions of dollars." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110908103959.htm>.
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. (2011, September 12). Inexpensive infection control measures could save thousands of lives, billions of dollars. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110908103959.htm
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "Inexpensive infection control measures could save thousands of lives, billions of dollars." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110908103959.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins