Healthcare Acquired Infections
Imagine a large plane crashing every single day, killing at least 270 people. It’s inconceivable. This is the estimated number of deaths every day from Healthcare Acquired Infections (HAI’s), often referred to as the “hidden epidemic”. HAI’s are illnesses patients get in a healthcare facility while being treated for something else.
According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 1.7 million people in the US contract an HAI every year, or 1 out of every 25 patients. Of those, an estimated 99,000 people die. The estimated cost to the healthcare system is $45 Billion annually. These patients spend an average of 6.5 extra days in the hospital, are five times more likely to be readmitted and twice as likely to die. With the emergence of so-called superbugs, microbes resistant to current antimicrobial drug therapy, the potential risk is much higher.
The World Health Organization predicts that by 2050 10 million people will die worldwide superbugs and antibiotic-resistant microbes, resulting in $1 trillion of cost to healthcare.
HAI’s are preventable, and the government has stepped in to ensure this issue is being address. In 2009, the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS) stopped paying reimbursement for patients who acquired an HAI during their hospital stay. In 2011, CMS added additional fines for facilities with high rates of infection. The effects of reduced reimbursements have had a serious affect on facilities some of whom have seen a reduction of up to 40% of their total revenue due to lost reimbursement.
Today, addressing the issue of infection control has the attention of everyone, including, regulatory agencies and c-suite executives, opening the door for innovative ideas and solutions that support existing infection control protocol.