By Cassandra Harris
Among the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States, healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are infections that patients develop while receiving healthcare treatment for other conditions. To help reduce the rate of HAIs, DHEC is working with a public-private partnership of health care professionals, state agencies, and health care associations to promote better infection control.
Recent data indicates that South Carolina is making substantial progress in reducing the rate of these infections. One of the most significant improvements from 2012 to 2013 is another 7% reduction in central line-associated bloodstream infections. South Carolina’s rate of infection is now 43% below the national benchmark. In 2013, these infections in adult and pediatric intensive care units were more than 45% below the national baseline data. In addition, South Carolina has become one of the first states to mandate reporting of ventilator-associated events (VAEs)—helping to promote accurate reporting of data.
While South Carolina continues to make strides in the prevention of HAIs, there is still much work to be done towards reaching the ultimate goal of eliminating preventable HAIs. Research shows that when health care facilities are aware of their infection issues and implement concrete strategies to prevent them, rates of certain hospital infections can be decreased by more than 70 percent. Working together, we can make a difference.