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Monday, April 26, 2010

Hand Hygiene Noncompliance and the Cost of Hospital-Acquired MRSA Infection

A new study shows that even minimal improvements in hand hygiene compliance is associated with significant and substantial savings in hospital costs.

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center (Durham, NC, USA) found:

A 200-bed hospital incurs a total of $1,779,283 in annual MRSA infection-related expenses that are directly attributable to hand hygiene noncompliance. According to the researchers, a mere 1% increase in hand hygiene compliance would result in annual savings of $39,650; an increase in hand hygiene adherence by 5% would result in a mean decrease in expected MRSA-related costs of $198,250. The study was published in the April 2010 issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

“Many other pathogens are also spread to patients on the hands of healthcare workers as a result of noncompliance with hand hygiene. In fact, in some reports MRSA accounts for fewer than 8% of all hospital-acquired infections,” concluded lead author Keith Cummings, M.D., and colleagues of the department of medicine. “Because our model focused on costs associated only with MRSA transmission, it substantially underestimated the costs associated with hand hygiene noncompliance.”

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