How should we interpret hospital infection statistics?

Allen C Cheng and Leon J Worth
Med J Aust 2014; 200 (5): . || doi: 10.5694/mja14.00101
Published online: 17 March 2014

In reply: We thank Watson for her comments and agree that there is probably room for improvement. However, for most hospitals that fall within the funnel, rank is likely to reflect random variation. This contrasts with the common interpretation that rank reflects the quality of care.

  • 1 Monash University, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Infection Prevention and Healthcare Epidemiology Unit, Alfred Health, Melbourne, VIC.


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

  • 1. Cheng AC, Woolnough E, Worth LJ, Pilcher DV. How should we interpret hospital infection statistics? Med J Aust 2013; 199: 735-736. <MJA full text>
  • 2. Worth LJ, Thursky KA, Slavin MA. Public disclosure of health care-associated infections in Australia: quality improvement or parody [letter]? Med J Aust 2012; 197: 29. <MJA full text>
  • 3. National Health Performance Authority. Hospital performance: healthcare-associated Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections in 2011–12, technical supplement. Sydney: NHPA, 2013. (accessed Feb 2014).


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