Journal Article

Clinical and economic outcomes attributable to health care–associated sepsis and pneumonia.

Eber MR, Laxminarayan R, Perencevich EN, et al. Archives of internal medicine. 2010;170:347-53.

Health care–associated infections are common and the subject of wide-scale prevention programs, despite concerns about their use as a quality metric. This study used a national database to examine the clinical and economic costs attributed to the development of health care–associated sepsis and pneumonia. Analyzing nearly 600,000 cases, investigators found 2.3 million hospitalization days, $8.1 billion in in-hospital costs, and 48,000 preventable deaths attributed to health care–associated sepsis and pneumonia. They also reported at least 40% higher length of stay and costs in patients with these complications who underwent invasive procedures compared to those who did not. Despite limitations in utilizing administrative data to draw clinical details, the findings are notable. A related commentary [see link below] discusses reducing preventable harm in the context of this study's findings, calling for greater investments in the science of health care quality and safety.