The cost of Healthcare-Associated Infections
Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs), also called nosocomial infections or Hospital-Acquired Infections, are as bad as they sound – infections that a patient gets while receiving care in a healthcare setting (hospital, clinic, ambulance, etc.). Pneumonia, surgical-site infections, and gastrointestinal illnesses are among the most common HAIs.
The CDC estimates that 1 in 25 hospital patients has at least one HAI during their stay. That’s almost 2 million infected people and 99,000 deaths annually. In addition to medical outcomes, HAIs have a financial impact on the healthcare system adding nearly $10 billion in costs each year, according to a report published by JAMA Internal Medicine. The average hospital’s costs can add up to more than $15,000 according to the CDC, with surgical site infections topping the charts at about $40,000 per incident.
What are healthcare facilities doing to reduce HAIs?
Hospitals and healthcare systems implement strict quality assurance/quality control to reduce HAIs. Some have adopted financial rewards and penalties for individual hospitals based on their ability to avoid HAIs.
In addition to strict CDC protocols, hand hygiene, personal protective equipment (PPE, such as gloves and gowns) and staff training, proper facility cleaning and surface disinfection are an important part of infection control. Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) technology has been used since the 1970s to disinfect hospital operating rooms and act as portable “germ zappers.”
On a daily basis, your commercial cleaning program can help in reaching your infection control goals. Here are some do’s and don’ts:
- Strict color-coding to avoid cross contamination (do not use one color microfiber towel on a toilet, then on a counter).
- Stick with microfiber. Traps and carries more soil and water.
- Use a no-dip microfiber flat mopping system to avoid spreading dirty water and germs from floor to floor. Learn the difference between a string mop and flat mop (and why flat mops are better).
- Use hospital-grade disinfectants. For more infection control in a healthcare environment, read our article on CDC recommendations.
- HEPA filtration vacuums. Significantly reduce the amount of airborne particles compared to traditional vacuums.
Want to read more about infection control for any facility, check out our article archive on healthcare facilities.