Healthcare-associated infections contracted at Pennsylvania hospitals decreased by 3.1% in 2011. That is according to an annual report released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) fell in three categories: catheter-associated urinary tract infections (down 32.3% from 2008-2011; central line-associated bloodstream infections (down 44% from 2008-2011); and surgical site infections (down 5.9% from 2009 to 2010).
Acting Surgeon General Stephen Ostroff also noted that patients are spending fewer days in the hospital. In 2009 the total number of patient days was just less than 11 million, and in 2011 it was 10.2 million. Ostroff said the drop is do in part to a consolidation of hospital beds, but also to changing healthcare norms.
“Increasingly in the healthcare setting is a desire to get patients in and out of the hospital as quickly as possible. A lot of procedures that used to be done on an in-patient basis are now being done as out-patients.”
He said the public and people who are planning to undergo surgery can use the appendix in the Healthcare-Associated Infection in Pennsylvania Report to see whether their hospital’s infection rates are trending downward. But Ostroff cautioned that patients should not solely rely on the report when making their healthcare choices.
“Not the least of which your insurance, not the least of which your doctor who is taking care of you and where they practice, and the type of care that you’re seeking. From my perspective this is only one piece of information that an informed patient should use to make decisions about their healthcare,” said Ostroff.
The report also showed that 72% of all Pennsylvania healthcare employees received influenza vaccine in the 2011/12 flu season.
Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 20 hospitalized patients will contract an HAI.