- Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) remain the eighth leading cause of death in the U.S., despite major efforts to prevent them, according to Consumer Reports.
- The group looked at highly preventable central-line infections, which are often fatal, and found many hospitals still aren’t following basic infection prevention and control procedures.
- The report draws on public available data on central-line infections from nearly 2,000 hospitals between 2011 and 2015.
More than 27,000 people acquired central-line infections in 2015 — about 5% of all HAIs — and up to a quarter of those are fatal, the report noted. They’re also expensive, averaging $46,000 per case, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2013.
In 2001, physician Peter Pronovost, now SVP for patient safety and quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine, created a safety checklist that when followed could largely eliminate these infections. While progress has been made — the rate of central-line infections dropped by half from 2008 to 2014 —many hospitals aren’t doing all they can to prevent them occurring, Consumer Reports said.
The report lists 31 teaching hospitals with the lowest scores for central line infection. Among them are Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Jersey, George Washington University Hospital in D.C., and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Top scorers included MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in Baltimore, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s – Roosevelt in New York City and San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center.
Considering that these are highly preventable infections, “there are no excuses for poor performance on this metric,” said Doris Peters, director of Consumer Reports’ Health Ratings Center.