Reporting infections improves patient safety

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pennsylvania Study Shows Eight Percent Drop in Hospital Infections

New Report Offers Evidence That Public Reporting
of Infection Rates Leads to Improved Patient Safety

HARRISBURG, PA – Health care acquired infections were cut by almost eight percent between 2006 and 2007 in Pennsylvania hospitals, according to the latest statewide hospital infection report released today by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4). Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, pointed to the report as evidence that public reporting of infection rates leads to improved patient care.
Pennsylvania hospitals reported 27,949 patient infections in 2007 (17.7 per 1,000 cases) compared to 30,237 in 2006 (19.2 per 1,000 cases). Of the 162 general acute care hospitals in the report, 93 reported lower rates of patient infections in 2007. However, many hospitals are not improving and the future focus must be on them, Consumers Union noted.
The report offers the first year-to-year comparison of annual infection rates in Pennsylvania since the state first started collecting such information from hospitals. The agency gathered the same data in 2006 and 2007, giving the public its first apples to apples comparison over time. Pennsylvania offers a unique hospital-wide snapshot of the major types of infections as the state has the most comprehensive infection reporting law in the U.S.
“Pennsylvania hospitals are beginning to make real progress in reducing patient infection rates,” said Lisa McGiffert, Director of Consumers Union’s Stop Hospital Infections Campaign. “It’s clear that public reporting of infection rates is putting pressure on hospitals to improve care and work harder to protect patients. This report provides Pennsylvanians with an important tool to find out how their local hospital measures up when it comes to keeping patients safe from infections.”
Pennsylvania is one of 25 states that require public reporting of hospital acquired infection rates. Public reporting requirements have been adopted in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.
Lisa McGiffert – 512-477-4431, ext 115
Michael McCauley – 415-431-6747, ext 126