Catalyst Health Economics Consultants

Modelling the costs and consequences of reducing healthcare-associated infections by improving hand hygiene in an average hospital in England.

Authors: JF Guest, T Keating, D Gould, N Wigglesworth
Source: BMJ Open 2019;9:e029971. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2019-029971

Abstract

Objective: To assess the potential clinical and economic impact of introducing an electronic audit and feedback system into current practice to improve hand hygiene compliance in a hypothetical general hospital in England, to reduce the incidence of healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs).

Methods: Decision analysis estimated the impact of introducing an electronic audit and feedback system into current practice to improve hand hygiene compliance among front-line healthcare practitioners (HCPs).

Results: The model assumed 4.7% of adult inpatients (i.e. ?18 years of age) and 1.72% of front-line HCPs acquire a HCAI in current practice. The model estimated that if use of the electronic audit and feedback system could lead to a reduction in the incidence of HCAIs of between 5% and 25%, then the annual number of HCAIs avoided could range between 184 and 921 infections per hospital and HCAI-related mortality could range between 6 and 31 deaths per annum per hospital. Additionally, up to 86 days of absence among front-line HCPs could be avoided and up to 7794 hospital bed days could be released for alternative use. Accordingly, the total annual hospital cost attributable to HCAIs could be reduced by between 3% and 23%, depending on the effectiveness of the electronic audit and feedback system. If introduction of the electronic audit and feedback system into current practice could lead to a reduction in the incidence of HCAIs by at least 15%, it would have a ?0.75 probability of affording the National Health Service (NHS) a cost-effective intervention.

Conclusion: If the introduction of the electronic audit and feedback system into current practice in a hypothetical general hospital in England can improve hand hygiene compliance among front-line HCPs leading to a reduction in the incidence of HCAIs by ?15%, it would potentially afford the NHS a cost-effective intervention.


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