CMS opens bloodstream infection data to public

Aiming to boost hospital transparency and accountability, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services opened up blood infection data to the public. CMS has updated the Hospital Compare website to include hospital-provided data on central line-associated bloodstream infections, the agency announced yesterday.

"Including central line-associated bloodstream infections information on Hospital Compare will save lives and cut costs," acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said in a press release yesterday.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, central-line blood infections lead to 100,000 deaths and roughly $45 billion in hospital costs each year. 

The CDC and CMS can use the bloodstream infection data to identify areas for improvement and appropriately target prevention efforts, CMS said.

The government plans to add more hospital-acquired infection data to Hospital Compare later this year, Consumer Reports noted last week. This month, hospitals began reporting surgical-site infection rates to the CDC, data to be posted on Hospital Compare quarterly starting in 2013.

Patient advocates applaud the new additions to Hospital Compare, highlighting that public disclosure will force hospitals to improve the quality of care they deliver and will help patients choose safer facilities, noted Consumer Reports.

To learn more:
- read the CMS statement
- find the data on the Hospital Compare website
- read the Consumer Reports article