Using conservative estimates of the cost of caring for those patients with hospital-acquired infections for an additional three days, Wright says, the hospital number crunchers estimated that the savings equals an increased ability to admit more patients.
"With a literature-based estimate of 2.7 days in attributable length of stay, 56.7 bed-days are made available," the authors wrote in the AJIC paper. "Our average length of stay for a hospitalized patient is 4.5 days, suggesting that with the disinfection cap we could admit nearly 13 more patients per year."
He adds that the results were particularly surprising because NorthShore's CLABSI rates weren't that high to begin with, and it's harder to show a 50% reduction when numbers are already low.
Wright says he was originally skeptical, but now believes that the caps work to prevent infections and stop the formation of bacterial colonies inside these catheters. But he's not yet advising all hospitals to try them.
The NorthShore experience needs replication at other facilities first. "This is just one piece of evidence for it," he says.