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Top ways hospital executives can reduce the 1 in 25 infection rate in hospitals

In 2011, one in every 25 patients left the hospital with something they didnt have before: an infection.According to a recently published study in the N...

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|Jun 5|magazine5 min read

In 2011, one in every 25 patients left the hospital with something they didn’t have before: an infection.

According to a recently published study in the New England Journal of Medicine, patients contracted 721,800 infections within that year alone; of those 721,800, 75,000 died from recorded research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This alarming report is raising concern in hospital executives everywhere, in terms of what they can do to increase hospital standards and decrease patient infections.

Top five reported infections:

1. Pneumonia (22%)

2. Surgical-related infections (22%)

3. Urinary tract infections (less than 15%)

4. Infections of the bloodstream (less than 15%)

5. Clostridium deficiency (less than 15%)

Although this study highlights alarming numbers of those contracting illnesses from hospitals, the report marks progress from previous years.  There was an estimated 1.7 million healthcare or hospital-associated infections in 2002, over 155,668 patients deaths in total. From these findings, healthcare providers said that the patient’s infection directly contributed to patient death.

When it comes to reducing infection rates, "there's great data showing that we can actually move the needle significantly," says Dr. Michael Bell, director of the CDC's Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. "But at the same time, we're not doing a perfect job of doing everything we should, every single time," says Bell, "and there's some things which we haven't figured out how best to manage -- yet."

By following a simple checklist of best practice solutions and offering better incentives to hospital professionals, experts reported that the rate of infection dropped 44 percent between 2008 and 2012. By following the listed tips below, hospital executives can increase their hospital’s commitment to reducing infection and protecting its patients by starting with these seemingly simple ideas:

1. Follow proper HIPAA SOP and surgical practices by the book: leave no room for error

2. Better manage supplies: provide extra budget and resources to have well-stocked and clean supplies

3. Collect and respond to patient feedback: understand the importance of your patient’s voice