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PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e61097. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061097. Epub 2013 Apr 5.

Can inpatient hospital experiences predict central line-associated bloodstream infections?

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Essentia Institute of Rural Health, Duluth, Minnesota, USA.



Factors that increase the risk of central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) are not fully understood. Recently, Hospital Compare began compiling data from hospital-required reporting to the CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network on CLABSIs in intensive care units (ICUs), at over 4,000 Medicare-certified hospitals in the United States, and made this data accessible on a central website. Also available on the same website are results from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey of patients' hospital experiences. Utilizing both databases, our objective was to determine whether patients' hospital experiences were significantly associated with increased risk for reported ICU CLABSI.


We conducted a zero-inflated Poisson regression analysis at the hospital level on CLABSI-observed cases by ICUs in acute care hospitals (nā€Š=ā€Š1987) in the United States between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2011. During this period there were a total of 10,866 CLABSI cases and 9,543,765 central line days. In our final model, the percent of patients who reported that they "sometimes" or "never" received help as soon as they wanted was significantly associated with an increased risk for CLABSIs.


Using national datasets, we found that inpatients' hospital experiences were significantly associated with an increased risk of ICU reported CLABSIs. This study suggests that hospitals with lower staff responsiveness, perhaps because of an understaffing of nurse and supportive personnel, are at an increased risk for CLABSIs. This study bolsters the evidence that patient surveys may be a useful surrogate to predicting the incidence of hospital acquired conditions, including CLABSIs. Moreover, our study found that poor staff responsiveness may be indicative of greater hospital problems and generally poorly performing hospitals; and that this finding may be a symptom of hospitals with a multitude of problems, including patient safety problems, and not a direct cause.

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