Accreditation

Breaking down the new HAI reduction goals and how to achieve them

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, January 10, 2017

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced ambitious new targets for reducing healthcare-acquired infections (HAI) by 2020. The goals apply to acute care hospitals, long-term care facilities, and ambulatory surgical centers. If achieved, these goals could save billions of dollars and numerous lives.

That said, on its last reduction attempt, HHS wasn’t able to meet its 2013 HAI targets. Between 2009 and 2014, the only goal that was fully achieved was reducing the central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) rate by 50%. Other goals saw minor or partial successes, with the exception of catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) and C. diff hospitalizations (HCUP). Over the course of five years, CAUTI rates haven’t changed, while HCUP rates have actually increased by 18%.

Sue Dill Calloway RN, Esq., AD, BA, BSN, MSN, JD, CPHRM, CCMSCP, president of Patient Safety and Healthcare Consulting and Education, says the new HHS goals are pretty ambitious, particularly considering some of their previous results.

“They [HHS] want to reduce both of those [C. diff rates] by 30%, that’s going to be a really hard thing,” she says. “They show the progress made by 2014 and they say there’s been an 8% reduction [in C. diff infections]. But there’s some literature that disagrees with that. There are some people who think we haven’t done any reduction; we’ve gone the wrong way.”

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