Healthcare-associated infections (HAI’s) are infections contracted while in the care of a hospital or healthcare provider. This has become a major issue for healthcare providers, as well as for patients and staff of hospitals. Infections such as surgical site infections (SSI’s), Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, and Clostridium difficile (C. Diff) infections, have proliferated throughout healthcare facilities and can be devastating to the lives of those infected. Five to ten percent of patients admitted for unrelated reasons acquire an infection in a hospital or healthcare facility and one in nine infected patients will die. With hospitals being held financially liable and up to 2 million HAI’s reported annually in the U.S., the issue has become an epidemic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least half of infections acquired in hospitals could have been prevented. HAI’s are responsible for $35 to $45 billion in added direct costs to U.S. hospitals. The total direct, indirect, and non-medical costs are estimated to be much higher, between $96 and $147 billion annually. These costs are related to patient factors, including but not limited to, loss of work, legal charges, family distress, suffering, and reoccurring long-term complications. There is an immediate need for healthcare facilities to improve infection control programs and protocols in combating these deadly organisms. Multifaceted infection control programs are bundling new technologies with existing techniques to get the best results in the reduction of the overall microbial burden that lead to HAI’s.