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How should we interpret hospital infection statistics?

Allen C Cheng, Emily Woolnough, Leon J Worth and David V Pilcher
Med J Aust 2013; 199 (11): 735-736. || doi: 10.5694/mja13.10703
Published online: 16 December 2013

Infection control data as presented on the MyHospitals website should not be used to rank hospitals

Updated indicators of safety and quality for the 2011–12 financial year were released earlier this year by the National Health Performance Authority (NHPA) on the MyHospitals website (http://www.myhospitals.gov.au). These detail the reports received by the NHPA on a single outcome measure, Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB), and a process measure, compliance with hand hygiene. The universal reaction in the media was to rank hospitals, implying that low hand hygiene and high bacteraemia incidence reflect poor quality of care.1 Although we support the open publication of this information, we caution against overinterpretation of the results.

  • Allen C Cheng1,2
  • Emily Woolnough2
  • Leon J Worth2
  • David V Pilcher2,3

  • 1 Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Alfred Health, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 3 Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Centre for Outcome and Resource Evaluation, Melbourne, VIC.

Correspondence: allen.cheng@monash.edu

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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