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Hospital Infection Prevention Resources Cut, Study Says
Date:6/9/2009

vention measures," said Nutty. "These are the most essential components of infection prevention."

The survey also found that only one in five respondents have data mining programs -- electronic surveillance systems that allow infection preventionists to discover and investigate potential infections in real-time, enabling them to intervene quickly. Nearly two-thirds of respondents have one or less than one full-time staff person dedicated to infection prevention, while almost 90 percent have zero or less than one full-time staff person for clerical or analytic support.

"Infection prevention departments at our nation's healthcare facilities are severely under-staffed and under-resourced," said APIC CEO Kathy L. Warye. "Without enough trained professionals, funding and high-tech solutions that speed access to infection-related data, we are not going to continue to make progress in eliminating preventable infections. While cuts in staff, training and technology may ease budgets in the short-term, the effect of increased infections will erode the bottom line over time, not to mention cause needless pain, suffering and death."

"Healthcare executives must invest in their infection prevention programs. It's the right thing for patients and it saves hospitals money," Warye added.

HAIs are among the ten leading causes of death in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 1.7 million infections and 99,000 associated deaths each year. They incur more than $20 billion in excess healthcare costs annually.

The APIC survey was conducted March 20-27, 2009; 1,943 out of 12,000 APIC members responded. Three-quarters of survey respondents work at acute care hospitals. Responses were received from all sizes of facilities and hospitals. Visit www.apic.org/EconomicSurvey to see the full report.

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