A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

DPH Releases New Infection Data

DPH Releases New Infection Data

May 30, 2014

DPH Chart showing decline in central line infections

The MA Department of Public Health recently released its latest set of data (read it here, and scroll down to HAI Data Update) on healthcare-associated infections in Massachusetts acute care hospitals. The data looks at central line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) and a number of surgical site infections (coronary artery bypass graft, knee replacement, hip replacement, abdominal hysterectomy and vaginal hysterectomy).

Massachusetts hospitals ICUs overall have rates of CLABSIs that are lower than or equal to what would be predicted based on earlier data but burn ICUs have rates higher than expected. For surgical site infections, aggregate rates are lower than or equal to predicted except for vaginal hysterectomy SSIs which are higher than expected. This higher rate had already been a concern at DPH and they convened a workgroup to look more closely at possible explanations. So far they have not found a conclusive cause for this high rate.

This most recent data release only includes aggregate data, with just a few hospital specific items in the slides. For the most recent hospital-specific infection data, you have to look back to a June 2013 data release (on the same webpage, called “2012 Hospital Specific Data Sheet). While we appreciate that there has been an aggregate data update one year after the last update, it would be helpful to Massachusetts consumers to have access to annually updated data for every acute care hospital. We encourage DPH to update both aggregate and hospital-specific data on a regular basis and to widely publicize the data release so that the media and the general public are aware of its availability and how to interpret it.

For additional infection data, visit the CHIA website to see a summary of changes in infection rates in MA from 2008-2012. This shows statewide decreases in rates of CLABIs, abdominal hysterectomy SSIs, and colon surgery SSIs but an increase in catheter-associated urinary tract infections (UTIs). 

   -Deb Wachenheim