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What One MRSA Infection Costs Your Hospital

Posted Dec 16 2009 12:00am

Today in my Healthy Dose e-newsletter from Modern Healthcare, they referenced a story from Reuters about the cost of a single MRSA surgical site infection. The article highlights a number of findings from a Duke University Medical Center study published in the Public Library of Science journal. Evidently Duke looked specifically at methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA infections associated with surgery. The researchers looked at the medical records from more than 140,000 surgical procedures done between 1998 and 2003.

What did they find:

  • A single surgical site MRSA infection can cost a hospital as much as $60,000 in additional costs.
  • The risk of death increases 7-fold in patients who acquire a surgical site infection.
  • The chances of hospital readmission increases 35-fold in patients with surgical site infections.
  • Surgical site MRSA infections led to charges in excess of $19 million for the 150 patients in the study who acquired MRSA infections.
  • The patients who acquired surgical site MRSA infections required an additional three weeks of hospitalization.

Just imagine what hospital administrators, infection control professionals and healthcare marketers could do with $60,000 to prevent the spread of these infections! That money could go a long way toward designing, executing and evaluating various marketing programs and interventions. It has been reported that MRSA kills 20,000 people each year. So this is an important issue! You can find the study at http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0008305.

Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer

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