Digging Into the Stats
While news releases touted the "significantly" lower rates associated with the certified infection control directors, they did not mention the exact rates. I asked Pogorzelska why not. She told me her study found that the "presence of an infection control director certified in infection control has .3 times lower MRSA infection rates compared to hospitals that did not have a certified infection control director."
So, that's like a batting average of .300—a 30% success rate, correct?
No, not really. "It's a bit of a weird statistic, so I can't easily turn it into a percentage," Pogorzelska said, but she added that "this association was statistically significant."
After I asked her again, Pogorzelska said she would revisit the numbers and try to find a percentage.
A few minutes later, she emailed me. Bingo.
"I double checked with my statistician on the correct interpretation in terms of percentages and it is about a 78% reduction in terms of rates."
So, indeed, there is a significant impact on MRSA that is associated with having certified infection control officers in hospitals. But in this day of multidisciplinary teams in health care, it's not up to the infection control specialists alone to do the job, Pogorzelska says.