Prevention and Control of Infections

Enlarged image of C.difficile bacteria. Image courtecy of CDCHealthcare-associated Infections (HAI) are infections that people acquire while receiving services at a health care facility. In a medical facility, bacteria, viruses and fungi can be passed from patient to healthcare provider to surfaces and back.

Hospitals can reduce the risk of HAIs by implementing preventive steps developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Types of Infections

Central Line-associated Bloodstream Infection (CLABSI)

CLABSI is a serious infection that occurs when germs (usually bacteria or viruses) enter the bloodstream through the central line. CLABSIs result in thousands of deaths each year and billions of dollars in added costs to the U.S. healthcare system, yet these infections are preventable. 

Surgical Site Infections (SSI)

A surgical site infection is an infection that occurs after surgery in the part of the body where the surgery took place. SSIs can sometimes be superficial infections involving the skin only. Other surgical site infections are more serious and can involve tissues under the skin, organs, or implanted material.

Vermont reports on infection rates for three common surgeries:

For more information:

Tracking Healthcare-associated Infection Prevention

Standardized Infection Ratio (SIR)

The standardized infection ratio (SIR) is a statistic used to track healthcare-associated infection prevention progress over time. The SIR for a facility or state is adjusted to account for factors that might cause infection rates to be higher or lower, such as hospital size, the type of patients a hospital serves, and surgery and patient characteristics.

Hospital Report Cards

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