What’s New in the Patient Safety World

February 2015

Cost-Effectiveness of HAI Prevention



You’ve heard us extol over and over the power of stories over statistics. One example we often note in our presentations and webinars was from Richard Shannon, MD back in 2007 at a conference on patient safety sponsored by the NY State Department of Health (Shannon 2007). He spoke about how for years data would be presented on rates of CLABSI’s and likely costs due to CLABSI’s and how this generated little interest in action. Then something caught his attention: over half his ICU patient who got a CLABSI died! That’s what spurred him and his colleagues to action.


A new study puts prevention of health care–associated infection (HAI’s) in perspective from both a human and financial standpoint (Dick 2015). The researchers looked at 5 years of Medicare data on HAI rates and used cost and quality of life estimates from the literature to compare patients with and without CLABSI or VAP and estimated the cost-effectiveness of multifaceted HAI prevention programs. For CLABSI they estimated the total life-years (LY’s) and quality-adjusted life-years (QALY’s) gained per ICU due to infection prevention programs were 15.55 and 9.61 respectively. For VAP the estimates were 10.84 LY and 6.55 QALY.


On the cost side, reductions in index admission ICU costs were $174,713.09 for CLABSI and $163,090.54 for VAP. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER’s) were $14,250.74 per LY gained and $23,277.86 per QALY gained.


The authors conclude that the results underscore the importance of maintaining ongoing investments in HAI prevention.






Shannon R. Eliminating Hospital Acquired Infections: Is It Possible? Is It Sustainable? Is IT Worth It? Presentation at NYSDOH 2007 Patient Safety Conference




Dick AW, Perencevich EN, Pogorzelska-Maziarz M, et al. A decade of investment in infection prevention: A cost-effectiveness analysis. Am J Infect Control 2015; 43(1): 4-9





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