HAIs have a huge economic burden. In a report from the WHO and also according to a report from the ECDC, these infections account for approximately €7 billion per year in Europe. Cost reduction by preventing HAIs is the aspired aim. But according to a study, 85 percent of hospital running costs are fixed and therefore cannot be recouped by preventing a healthcare-associated infection. We spoke with study-co-author Prof. Sephan Harbarth.
Nosocomial Infections not only cause pain to million of patients, but also confront the hospitals with enormous additional costs, we hear in the media. Costs, that can´t be supported at the long run from our health care systems. In a study with the title “Valuation of Hospital Bed-Days, Released by Infection Control Programs: A Comparison of Methods” this picture is relativized. The authors of the study (published by The University of Chicago Press on behalf of “The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America”) found out, that approximately 85 percent of hospital running costs are fixed and therefore cannot be recouped by preventing a healthcare-associated infection.
In the course of the investigation the researchers examined the typical methods for cost calculation, and noticed, that there is to much focus on the accounting costs:” Accounting costs are used only to control expenditures and ensure cost recovery and financial viability”, says co-author Prof. Stephan Harbarth (Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève). They are minimally informative and therefore insufficient for future decisions. Costs of HAIs and cost-effectiveness of infection control programs must be calculated in the future with appropriate bedday valuation methods, Harbarth concludes.
Link to the study