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Can Preventing HAIs Increase Profitability?

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We all know the impact of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) – on patient health, direct and indirect medical costs, and even the social-emotional well-being of patients.

Thus, the benefits of preventing just one HAI would have a profound impact on not only the patient and hospital, but society as a whole.

But what are the costs associated with preventing an HAI?

And, can preventing an HAI actually increase the profitability of a hospital?

Researchers at Stanford Health Care, VA New York Harbor Healthcare System, and Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center address both these questions in a study at Stanford Health Care.

HAI Prevention comes at a cost

According to the CDC, “HAIs in U.S. hospitals have direct medical costs of at least $28.4 billion each year”. But what does it cost a hospital to prevent an HAI?

As discussed in the study, preventing one HAI costs a hospital approximately $25,000. This is primarily due to an increase in capacity and the costs associated with backfilling patients, in addition to the incorporation of HAI reduction tools and strategies.

But what about profitability?

Well, similar to the increase in costs required to backfill patients, more capacity leads to an increase in revenue as more patients are admitted. In fact, the study showed that profits would increase by nearly $600,000 for each and every HAI eliminated.

So, not only does HAI prevention improve patient physical and emotional health, but it also significantly increases hospital profitability.

That’s great, but we still must prevent HAIs

The best way to prevent HAIs is through a comprehensive and layered approach to infection prevention. This can be achieved by incorporating policies and technologies that include hand-hygiene, environmental cleaning and disinfection, antimicrobial stewardship, and soft surface interventions, such as SilvaClean.