Each year, nearly two million patients in the United States contract health care-associated infections (HCAI) in hospitals. That’s about 1 infection for every 20 patients. Unfortunately, more than 100,000 patients die as a result of infections. While not every infection can be prevented, many are spread to patients on the hands of health care workers.
The yearly economic cost from HCAIs to the American health care system is also staggering. Hospital infections add more than $30 billion each year in care costs, longer hospital stays, readmissions and legal costs. HCAIs are not an inevitable cost of providing health care: they can be prevented by properly cleaning your hands.
This is why we need to be aware of and practice proper hand hygiene at UW Health patient locations. UW Health employees need to remind themselves of the proper technique and incorporate it into their daily routines.