Health Care-Associated Infections

Description of AHRQ-funded projects to reduce health care-associated infections, including MRSA infections.

This page features helpful links to information, tools, and resources on healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), which are the most common complication of hospital care and are one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States. AHRQ-funded research and initiatives to reduce HAIs are also highlighted.

Introduction

A core part of the mission of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is to improve the safety of health care for all Americans. To support this mission, AHRQ has funded numerous projects to reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), infections that patients acquire during the course of receiving treatment for other conditions within a health care setting.

HAIs are the most common complication of hospital care and are one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States, accounting for an estimated 1.7 million infections and 99,000 associated deaths in 2002. The financial burden attributable to these infections is estimated at $28 to $33 billion in excess health care costs each year.

Fact sheets on AHRQ-funded projects are available for:

Information on the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program—which has been expanded to include all 50 States, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, to include other settings in addition to intensive care units, and to address other types of HAIs—is available at Using a Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections

This page features helpful links to HAI-related information, tools, and resources, and will direct you to AHRQ-funded research and initiatives to reduce HAIs. 

Tools & Resources

Tools & Resources for Health Care Providers and Others

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Tools & Resources for Consumers

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Articles of Interest

The ability of intensive care units to maintain zero central line-associated bloodstream infections.
Lipitz-Snyderman A, Needham DM, Colantuoni E, Goeschel CA, et al. Arch Intern Med 2011 May 9;171(9):856-8.

Collaborative cohort study of an intervention to reduce ventilator-associated pneumonia in the intensive care unit.
Berenholtz, SM, Pham JC, Thompson, DA, et al. ICHE 2011 Feb 17.

Eradicating central line-associated bloodstream infections statewide: The Hawaii experience.
Lin DM, Weeks K, Bauer L, et al. Am J Med Qual 2011 Sep 14. [Epub ahead of print]

Impact of a statewide intensive care unit quality improvement initiative on hospital mortality and length of stay: retrospective comparative analysis.
Lipitz-Snyderman A, Steinwachs D, Needham DM, et al. BMJ 2011 Jan 28;342:d219. doi: 10.1136/bmj.d219.

A research framework for reducing preventable patient harm.
Pronovost PJ, Cardo DM, Goeschel CA, et al. Clin Infect Dis 2011 Feb;52(4):507-13.

Sustaining reductions in catheter related bloodstream infections in Michigan intensive care units: observational study.
Pronovost PJ, Goeschel CA, Colantuoni E, et al. BMJ 2010 Feb 4;340:c309.

An intervention to decrease catheter-related bloodstream infections in the ICU.
Pronovost P, Needham D, Berenholtz S, et al. N Engl J Med 2006 Dec 28;355(26):2725-32.

Integrating CUSP and TRIP to improve patient safety.
Romig M, Goeschel C, Pronovost P, et al. Hosp Pract (Minneap) 2010 Nov;38(4):114-21.

Sustaining reductions in catheter related bloodstream infections in Michigan intensive care units: observational study.
Pronovost PJ, Goeschel CA, Colantuoni E, et al. BMJ 2010 Feb 4;340:c309.

An intervention to decrease catheter-related bloodstream infections in the ICU.
Pronovost P, Needham D, Berenholtz S, et al. N Engl J Med 2006 355:2725-32.

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Press Releases

ICUs in Michigan Sustain Zero Blood Stream Infections for Up to 2 Years
May 9, 2011
Rates of Pneumonia Dramatically Reduced in Patients on Ventilators in Michigan Intensive Care Units
February 17, 2011
Landmark Initiative to Reduce Healthcare-Associated Infections Cuts Deaths Among Medicare Patients in Michigan Intensive Care Units
January 31, 2011
AHRQ Awards $34 Million to Expand Fight Against Healthcare-Associated Infections
November 4, 2010
Annual Quality and Disparities Reports Include Data on Rates of Health Care-Associated Infections, Obesity and Health Insurance
April 13, 2010

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Page last reviewed January 2013
Internet Citation: Health Care-Associated Infections. January 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patient-safety-resources/resources/hais/hais60121.html