|Hospital Infections Wreak Havoc With Patients, Hospital Finances
Hospital leaders knew that approximately 1.7 million
hospitalized patients contract a healthcare-associated infection (HAI)
annually in the United States. What they didn’t know were the
costs and impact of these infections on their operations.
Four researchers poured through a national database of
hospital discharge records from 1998-2006 attempting to identify sepsis
and pneumonia infections and examine the hospital lengths of stay,
hospital costs and mortality associated with those infections. The
American Medical Association published the study now available in the
Archives of Internal Medicine.
Over that eight-year period, the four researchers
identified 557,967 cases of sepsis and pneumonia in hospitalized
patients, out of a total of 59 million hospitalized patients in 40
The findings included:
Patients who had invasive surgery and contracted sepsis while in the
hospital spent 10.9 more days in the hospital, cost $32,900 more and
had an attributable crude mortality rate of 19.5 percent, compared to
similar control patients.
Patients who contracted pneumonia were hospitalized an
additional 14 days, cost $46,400 more and had a mortality rate of 11.4
HAI-attributable lengths of stay and hospital costs
for patients who did not have invasive surgery were 40 percent lower
than for those who did have such surgery.
The findings could be underestimated, according the
authors, as their data was limited by its reliance on administrative
records that contain limited clinical information.
By extrapolating the data they had the authors
estimated the costs of sepsis and pneumonia HAIs in 2006 alone to be
48,000 deaths, $8.1 billion in additional hospital costs and 2.3
million more hospital days.
Address: American Medical Association, 515 N. State Street, Chicago, IL 60654; (800) 621-8335, www.ama-assn.org.