CDC Report Looks At Infections Patients Receive In Hospitals

March 28, 2014

A new report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looking at infections patients get at hospitals has some mixed results, both nationally and in Arizona. The CDC looked at a series of infections, including those from different surgeries and urinary tract infections from catheters. Dr. Michael Bell, deputy director of the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the CDC, said those tend to happen to patients who are among the sickest in the hospital, in the Intensive Care Unit, and are associated with medical devices or procedures.

"And, we know from a long history of evidence and observation that those two things are strongly tied to infections, and they offer opportunities for improvement," said Bell.

Bell said the country seems to be doing better in some areas, like infections resulting from central lines, tubes placed in large veins, and some surgeries.

"The national picture is that there’s 10 to 20 percent fewer infections than you would have expected based on previous calculations, that’s the nation overall. The Arizona numbers look like there’s 10 to 20 percent more than you might have expected," said Bell. "What we don’t know is where the problem actually lies."

Bell cautions it is very difficult to compare states in the progress report, since they all started in different places and need work in different areas. Greg Vigdor, president and CEO of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, said there is some good progress being made around the country, and Arizona is involved in some of those efforts.