Hospital-Acquired Infections Need Urgent Attention

A government study has found that very little progress has been made on eliminating hospital-acquired infections and the problem needs urgent attention. According to the 2009 National Healthcare Quality Report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, rates of postoperative sepsis and postoperative catheter-associated infections are increasing. The study reported that rates of bloodstream infections increased by 8 percent and urinary tract infections increased by 3.6 percent on the previous year, while rates of selected infections due to medical care increased by 1.6 percent. On a more positive note, there was no change in the number of bloodstream infections associated with central venous catheter placements, and rates of postoperative pneumonia improved by 12 percent. Check out an April 13 New York Times article for more on this. A recent study by Aon found that hospital professional liability claims are on the increase, in part due to claims arising from hospital acquired conditions, also known as “never events.† One out of every four claims and 24 percent of hospital professional liability costs are associated with hospital acquired conditions, such as infections and injuries, medication errors, objects left in surgery and pressure ulcers. Aon’s 2009 Hospital Professional Liability and Physician Benchmark Analysis also noted that the frequency of hospital professional liability claims is increasing after years of declines and is expected to continue increasing at a one percent annual rate. Check out I.I.I. information on medical malpractice.

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