What is a Healthcare-Associated Infection?
Healthcare-Associated Infection Definition
Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are infections contracted within 48 hours of being in a hospital or healthcare facility or 30 days after discharge. Progress has been made in recent years in the fight against HAIs, especially since the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has tied funding to a hospital’s number of reported HAIs.
On average, one out of every ten affected patients will die from their HAI. Meanwhile, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HAIs account for 7.8 additional hospital days per infected patient and $28 to $33 billion in additional costs.
The more reassuring news from WHO is following proper hand washing protocol and other infection prevention and control (IPC) measures, including proper cleaning and disinfecting, can reduce HAIs by up to 70%.
Types of HAIs
The basic types of HAIs are: Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs), Hospital onset Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), Surgical site infections (SSI), Ventilator-associated events (VAE), like pneumonia or other lung infections.
With healthcare organizations focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, the numbers have increased again. For example, in a May 2022 report by the World Health Organization (WHO), out of every 100 patients in acute-care hospitals, seven in high-income countries and 15 in low- and middle-income countries will acquire at least one HAI during their hospital stay.