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4 Good News Stories on HAI, and a Bonus

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 11, 2010

Positive, forward-looking healthcare stories seem to come in clusters, and this time there were four. Here comes another, so make that five.

Four of the stories tell how providers are starting to successfully chip away at some of their most vexing iatrogenic conditions, specifically nosocomials, hospital-acquired infections, or HAIs. 

These are avoidable mishaps, mistakes, or errors that cause harm. They make patients sicker, prolong hospital stays, complicate providers' lives and are very expensive for everyone. Changing the practice as well as the culture is or should be paramount.

Here are these good news stories showing ways the system is changing.

1. Health-care associated invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections have declined 9.4% per year from 2005 through 2008, a 28% decrease in all hospital-onset MRSA, says a report published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

MRSA prevention practices underway in many U.S. were said to be possibily responsible for the downturn in this study covering nine metro areas and 15 million people.

2. Also on Wednesday, an article in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows how the age-adjusted rate of hospitalization for patients diagnosed with peptic ulcer disease decreased by 21% (from 71.1 per 100,000 population to 56.5) between 1998 and 2005.

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