Quality of Care

How We Report Preventing Healthcare-Associated Infections

Preventing Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) measures how often patients in the hospital get certain serious infections that could have likely been prevented. HAIs can cause serious injury, harm, and in some cases death; treating them is also very expensive. HAIs make hospital stays longer, can cause long-term disabilities, and can make a patient more vulnerable to other diseases.

Hospitals can often prevent these infections by following established best practices. Preventing HAIs while in the hospital is an important way of measuring the quality of patient care.

Two of the most common HAIs are:1

  • Clostridioides difficile (C. diff): A bacteria that is often difficult to treat and can cause serious infections in the intestine. Patients are at higher risk of getting sick from C.diff if they are taking antibiotics, have recently stayed in a hospital or nursing home, are 65 years or older, or have weakened immune systems.
  • Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA): A bacteria that can cause serious infections in the body and can be difficult to treat because it is resistant to some antibiotics.

Data for these measures come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The data for preventing healthcare-associated C.diff infections and preventing healthcare-associated MRSA bloodstream infections on CompareMaine covers the April 1, 2022 – March 31, 2023 reporting period.

We use the Standardized Infection Ratio (SIR) which is a statistic used to track HAIs over time. The SIR compares the actual number of HAIs at each hospital to the predicted number of HAIs for that hospital. The predicted number is an estimate based on national baseline data and is risk adjusted. Risk adjustment takes into account that some hospitals treat sicker patients than others.

A SIR greater than 1.0 means that there were more HAIs in a hospital than were predicted. A SIR lower than 1.0 indicates the hospital had fewer HAIs than were predicted.

CompareMaine uses the facility confidence interval (CI) associated with the HAI compared to the statewide CI for calculating the Quality Ratings shown on these measures. This is different from the National Quality Ratings shown on the CMS Care Compare website that uses the National CI for comparison. Since CompareMaine compares the hospital CI with the statewide CI instead of the national CI, the hospital’s performance may differ from the National rating.

For more information, download the quality data reported on CompareMaine.