Background Multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) are an economic burden, and infection control (IC) measures are cost- and labour-intensive. A two-tier IC management strategy was developed, including active screening, in order to achieve effective use of limited resources. Briefly, high-risk patients were differentiated from other patients, distinguished according to type of MDRO, and IC measures were implemented accordingly. Aim To evaluate costs and benefits of this IC management strategy. Methods The study period comprised 2.5 years. All high-risk patients underwent microbiological screening. Gram-negative bacteria (GNB) were classified as multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR). Expenses consisted of costs for staff, materials, laboratory, increased workload and occupational costs. Findings In total, 39,551 patients were screened, accounting for 24.5% of all admissions. Of all screened patients, 7.8% (N = 3,104) were MDRO positive; these patients were mainly colonized with vancomycin-resistant enterococci (37.3%), followed by meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (30.3%) and MDR-GNB (28.3%). The median length of stay (LOS) for all patients was 10 days (interquartile range 3–20); LOS was twice as long in colonized patients (P < 0.001). Screening costs totalled 255,093.82€, IC measures cost 97,701.36€, and opportunity costs were 599,225.52€. The savings of this IC management strategy totalled 500,941.84€. Possible transmissions by undetected carriers would have caused additional costs of 613,648.90–4,974,939.26€ (i.e. approximately 600,000–5 million €). Conclusion Although the costs of a two-tier IC management strategy including active microbiological screening are not trivial, these data indicate that the approach is cost-effective when prevented transmissions are included in the cost estimate.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)