Hand Hygiene
Issue Background

Eliminating HAIs

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are an increasingly recognized problem by the healthcare community. The number of people who are sickened and the financial impact from HAIs are unacceptably high. In 2014, results of a project known as the HAI Prevalence Survey described the burden of HAIs in U.S. hospitals, and reported that there were an estimated 687,000 HAIs in U.S. acute care hospitals. Additionally, about 72,000 patients with HAIs died during their hospitalizations. Intrinsic to the problem is the inconsistent implementation of proven preventive measures. In addition, there is little information about the burden of infections outside hospitals, particularly in long-term care facilities, ambulatory surgical centers, and other outpatient settings. With the emergence of HAIs caused by multidrug resistant microorganisms, there is an increasing concern about these types of infections across the continuum of care. 

Requirements for the Elimination of HAIs
APIC believes the public policy recommendations needed to move in the direction of hospital-associated infection (HAI) elimination were succinctly outlined in Moving toward elimination of healthcare-associated infections: A call to action. They include:

  • increasing sustainability through the alignment of financial incentives and reinvesting in successful strategies; 
  • collecting data to target prevention efforts;
  • promoting adherence to evidence-based practices through partnering, educating, implementing, and investing; 
  • filling knowledge gaps to respond to emerging threats through basic, translational, and epidemiological research.