Infection control can reduce costs and improve outcomes

an image of The Stars & StripesHospital intensive-care units carry a higher risk of mortality among elderly who develop an infection during their stay, according to a new study. Infection control efforts resulted in better health outcomes and reduced healthcare costs, the study also reports.

An analysis of health outcomes of more than 17,000 Medicare patients admitted to 31 hospitals in 2002 found those who had an infection while in an ICU were 35% more likely to die within five years of leaving the hospital. An additional five years of Medicare claims data also was examined to assess the long-term outcomes and health costs attributed to healthcare-associated infections.

Working to prevent two of the most common types of healthcare-associated infections—central-line bloodstream infections and pneumonia—can increase the chances of patient survival and reduce the cost of their care by more than $150,000 per patient, according to the study published Monday in the January issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

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