• Study
  • Published September 2013

Health economic evaluation of an infection prevention and control program: are quality and patient safety programs worth the investment?

Safety professionals are still striving to establish the business case for improving safety. Health care–associated infections (HAIs) are one area where demonstrating the business case should be feasible, given that the total cost of these infections in the United States amounts to billions of dollars per year. This analysis of a Canadian regional health authority's HAI prevention program found that over a 4-year period, the costs of the program were more than outweighed by the money saved through achieving a 19% reduction in the incidence of the targeted HAI. Although these findings support the business case for safety at the system level, other studies have found that individual hospitals—who often shoulder most of the implementation costs of prevention efforts—may in fact be penalized financially for preventing adverse events. Reconciling these contradictory findings will be necessary in order to ensure the continued health of the safety movement.

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