Background. Healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) present a major public health problem that significantly affects patients, health care providers and the entire healthcare system. Infection prevention and control programs limit HCAIs and are an indispensable component of patient and healthcare worker safety. The clinical best practices (CBPs) of handwashing, screening, hygiene and sanitation of surfaces and equipment, and basic and additional precautions (e.g., isolation, and donning and removing personal protective equipment) are keystones of infection prevention and control (IPC). There is a lack of rigorous IPC economic evaluations demonstrating the cost-benefit of IPC programs in general, and a lack of assessment of the value of investing in CBPs more specifically. Objective. This study aims to assess overall costs associated with each of the four CBPs. Methods. Across two Quebec hospitals, 48 healthcare workers were observed for two hours each shift, for two consecutive weeks. A modified time-driven activity-based costing framework method was used to capture all human resources (time) and materials (e.g. masks, cloths, disinfectants) required for each clinical best practice. Using a hospital perspective with a time horizon of one year, median costs per CBP per hour, as well as the cost per action, were calculated and reported in 2018 Canadian dollars ($). Sensitivity analyses were performed. Results. A total of 1831 actions were recorded. The median cost of hand hygiene (N= 867) was 20 cents per action. For cleaning and disinfection of surfaces (N= 102), the cost was 21 cents per action, while cleaning of small equipment (N= 85) was 25 cents per action. Additional precautions median cost was $4.1 per action. The donning or removing or personal protective equipment (N= 720) cost was 76 cents per action. Finally, the total median costs for the five categories of clinical best practiced assessed were 27 cents per action. Conclusions. The costs of clinical best practices were low, from 20 cents to $4.1 per action. This study provides evidence based arguments with which to support the allocation of resources to infection prevention and control practices that directly affect the safety of patients, healthcare workers and the public. Further research of costing clinical best care practices is warranted.
Tchouaket Nguemeleu E, Robins S, Boivin S, et al. Antimicrob Resist Infect Control 2021;10(1):150. Doi : 10.1186/s13756-021-01000-y.