Hospital Infections Linked to Readmissions

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CHICAGO— Two areas commonly targeted for quality improvement—readmissions and healthcare-associated infections—are strongly linked to one another, according to newly published research.

The study, which appears in the June issue of the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, found that patients with who tested positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant enterococci or Clostridium difficile more than 48 hours after admission to the hospital were 60 percent more likely to be readmitted within 30 days and 40 percent more likely to be readmitted within a year than patients without HAIs.

“Although much attention has been directed toward hospital readmissions and healthcare-associated infections as potentially preventable conditions and targets to reduce healthcare spending, to our knowledge, no studies have directly assessed the association between the two,” the authors wrote.

Researchers relied on admissions data from more than 136,000 patients, spanning eight years. The findings, they say, provide yet another reason to support rigorous infection-prevention efforts.

“Efforts to reduce healthcare-associated infections may have the additional benefit of reducing the incidence of hospital readmission and associated poor patient outcomes and increased healthcare costs,” they wrote in the study.

The authors also said future improvement efforts could include specialized discharge planning for patients who test positive for such infections.
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