Using Data and Analytics to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections

September 27, 2018 David Williams

David Williams is Vice President and General Manager of Conduent Healthcare Provider Solutions.

Every week it seems like there's a report about a new super bug that can put you at risk when you're in a hospital. This is on top of all the other hospital-borne infections (staph, pneumonia, UTIs, etc.) that leave patients vulnerable.

One survey by Health Catalyst indicated that about 80% of hospital executives believe healthcare could be improved via the use of data analytics. These execs have the right idea — and many of them are already using data and predictive analytics to fight back against these infections and protect their patients’ health.

Current stats on hospital-based infections

According to the Center for Disease Control:

  • An estimated 250,000 CLABSIs (central line-associated bloodstream infections) arising from the use central lines for hospital patients occur each year
  • The mortality rate from these infections is estimated to be 12-15% annually
  • The cost of each of these infections ranges from $3,700 to $36,000 per occurrence.

Prevention – best practices and technology

Using data and revamping training and procedures are key tools in fighting healthcare associated infections.

Many hospitals are reevaluating training, workflows and procedures to prevent the incidence of these infections. In addition to these steps, big-data analytics are becoming increasingly important in this fight.

Data analytics tools are rapidly working to decrease the level of these infections and other hospital acquired conditions. According to the Health and Human Services Department, these patient safety events decreased by about 17% between 2010 and 2013, preventing an estimated 50,000 unnecessary deaths and saving hospitals and patients about $12 billion.

What else are hospitals doing?

In addition to the steps outlined above, many hospitals are putting predictive data gained from the use of data analytics to use in preventing infections and other conditions arising from hospital stays. Some ways predictive analytics are being used include:

  • Analyzing data on hospital readmissions, allowing hospitals to target the characteristics of patients who require additional care after their initial discharge and to have the resources to provide the right post-discharge care.
  • LACE (length of stay, acuity, comorbidities and emergency department visits) index scoring tools to analyze readmission data to target the characteristics of patients who are most likely to be readmitted.
  • Exchanging patient data via a secure online network. At a hospital in Delaware, teams are analyzing this data to identify social and other factors that may reveal valuable predicative information.

Reporting of healthcare-associated infections

Reporting of hospital-acquired infections is mandated at the state level. A number of states have mandated that hospitals report these infections via the CDC's national database.

The CDC database not only provides a central repository for this data; it also provides a standardized methodology for analyzing and categorizing it.

There are several assumptions behind reporting and publicly disclosing this data, such as:

  • Transparency, openness and accountability are important to a facility's reputation
  • Public disclosure helps consumers make better healthcare decisions
  • HAIs are preventable
  • Valid data can be a tool in preventing HAIs

Summary

Data analytics and technology continue to play an increasing role in the healthcare industry. While they aren't substitutes for top quality care provided by doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff, data analytics is an important toolset for hospitals in many areas including the reduction and prevention of hospital acquired infections.

Conduent's Midas Health Analytics Solutions help hospitals perform critical data analysis functions. The Midas platform has an infection surveillance and monitoring module that helps hospitals prevent, monitor and track infections. It assists in proper reporting, documentation, workflow efficiency and numerous operational and strategic functions including antimicrobial stewardship. Learn more here, and please contact us if you would like help with your HAI prevention strategy.

About the Author

David is the Vice President & General Manager of Conduent Healthcare Provider Solutions.

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