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What is an HAI?

Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) are defined as infections that patients acquire during the course of receiving healthcare treatment for other conditions (1). Despite the fact that surveillance, prevention and control programs have been in place since the 1950’s, HAI continue to be a prevalent and costly issue in our healthcare systems. The top line global statistics on HAI are as follows:

  • USA - 1.7 million HAI yearly, accounting for 98,987 deaths (2), with an economic cost estimated at $35 to $45 billion each year (3).

  • Canada – 220,000 HAI yearly, accounting for 8,500 deaths. The direct costs of HAI in Canada are estimated at $1 billion annually (4).

  • Europe - 4.1 million HAI yearly, accounting for at least 37,000 deaths (5), with a direct economic cost of 7 billion Euros (6).

Various published studies have suggested that many HAI can be prevented, and today, multiple healthcare stakeholders are seeking innovative and cost-effective approaches to address this global problem. 

(1) Center for Disease Control (CDC) website
(2) CDC Public Health Reports March 2007 122. pp 160
(3) Direct Medical Costs of HAIs in US Hospitals (from CDC website)
(4) CUPE HAI statistics
(5) European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control website 
(6) WHO. Report on the Burden of Endemic Healthcare-associated Infections Worldwide.2011

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