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Am J Epidemiol. 1987 Aug;126(2):292-7.

A measurement of the efficacy of nosocomial infection control using the 95 per cent confidence interval for infection rates.


From 1981 through 1985, the authors studied the changes in monthly nosocomial infection rates at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia using the 95% confidence interval for infection rates as a marker of the efficacy of infection control activities. For a 99-month baseline period, monthly infection rates were calculated and the 95% confidence interval was established. In the 60 study months, each monthly rate was compared with the 95% confidence interval for that particular month. At the end of each study year, the monthly infection rates were incorporated into the existing confidence interval. Of 60 monthly rates during the study period, 30 were below the confidence interval (p less than 0.00001), two were above the confidence interval (p = 0.23), and 28 were within the confidence interval. Since there was no reduction in surveillance activity, patient case-mix index, or laboratory sensitivity for organism recovery, these results suggest that monthly nosocomial infection rates at this hospital have decreased when compared with the baseline period. The use of the 95% confidence interval may provide a measure of the efficacy of infection control activities, suggest temporal intervals requiring more intensive infection surveillance, and provide a method for examining the variability in monthly infection rates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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