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In December 2013, the Center for Transforming Healthcare launched its 10th project, which aims to reduce the frequency of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile)-related infections. C. difficile infections (CDI) are an increasingly prevalent healthcare-associated infection (HAI) that leads to patient harm ranging from painful diarrhea to death. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) estimates that there were approximately 337,000 hospitalizations related to CDI during 2009. This represents a 300 percent increase in these rates from 1993 when there were an estimated 86,000 hospital stays related to CDI. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that CDI-related diarrhea is linked to approximately 14,000 deaths per year. The financial impact of CDI is also staggering. The JAMA Internal Medicine estimates that the current rates of CDI add an additional $1.5 billion annually to the cost of health care. Since CDI disproportionately affects older patients, Medicare pays for 68 percent of all CDI-related hospital stays.
CDI rates and mortality can be reduced through a focus on a wide range of patient care aspects that include early identification, antibiotic stewardship, and effective environmental hygiene practices. There are barriers, however, to the implementation of strategies to address these opportunities. The hospitals and health systems participating in this project, which was launched in collaboration with the CDC, will focus on identifying the factors that create these barriers and developing targeted solutions designed to eliminate or reduce their impact. These solutions will be tested, validated, and ultimately spread to other health care organizations.
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Learn more about the Reducing C.difficile Infections Project
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