Samples basket

Yes, SIR! HAIs are declining

Data and the standardized infection ratio prove slow progress in reducing healthcare associated infections.

One in every 25 hospital patients is afflicted with a Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI).(1) 

A major, yet preventable, issue, the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) 2016 HAI progress report shows that headway has been made in infection prevention. However, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Definitive Healthcare data shows hospitals are still having difficulties and progress, while trending favorably, is slow. 

Statistics are drawn from the standardized infection ratio (SIR). At the beginning of the year, hospitals are given an estimate of the number of expected annual HAIs for each infection. The actual HAIs observed at the end of the year for those infections is then divided by the estimate to equal SIR value – a value of less than one is considered better.(2) For example, 10 counts of MRSA over an estimated 12 counts would equal 0.83 SIR. 

Data acquired by Definitive Healthcare shows some infections lowering in SIR value from 2013-2015 (the most recent data), but some with slight increases, showing us that while progress is being made with a few infections, others struggle. For more information, see Definitive Healthcare’s data here.

A 2014 report published the results of the 2011 HAI Prevalence Survey, which stated there was an estimated 722,000 HAIs in acute care hospitals, with 75,000 deaths due to HAIs. A similar publication in 2007 reported an estimated 1.7 million HAIs, with 99,000 deaths – meaning infection control methods decreased total HAIs by 42% and prevented 24,000 deaths.(3)   

According to 2013 data, the treatment of HAIs resulted in healthcare costs of $9.8 billion. Associated costs to treat a patient differ depending on the infection’s severity – bloodstream HAIs can rise to a per-patient cost of $45,000.(4)  

The one million decrease in estimated HAI afflictions not only prevented illness, extended hospital stays and death, but saved hospitals billions in healthcare costs.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “HAI Data and Statistics” (2016)
2 Definitive Healthcare “HAIs: Hospitals Struggle to Make Consistent Progress” (2016)
3 The New England Journal of Medicine “Multistate Point-Prevalence Survey of Health Care – Associated Infections” (2014)
4 FierceHealthcare “Hospital-acquired infections rack up $9.8B a year” (2013)