The number of people acquiring infections or injuries in hospitals is on a downward trend, saving tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars, according to a new government report.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, located within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), states that there were 13% fewer “hospital-acquired conditions” between 2014 and 2017. This includes infections, adverse drug events, injuries due to procedures, falls, and other such hospital-related occurrences.
The report estimates there were 86 of these hospital-acquired conditions in 2017 per 1,000 patients, down from 99 in 2014. This reduction translates to roughly 20,500 averted deaths and $7.7 billion in costs saved.
The agency noted a particularly large drop in antibiotic-associated Clostridioides difficile infections, which cause an inflamed colon. These infections dropped 37% between 2014 and 2017. Adverse drug events also dropped 28% in this period.
Hospital-related infections and injuries across the nation appear to be on a downward trend, however. Data from 2016 showed a 17% drop in hospital-acquired conditions between 2010 and 2014, translating to about $19.9 billion in cost savings and 87,000 fewer deaths between 2011 and 2014.
The HHS aims to see a 20% drop between 2014 and 2019, which could result in $19.2 billion in savings and 53,000 fewer deaths.