Predicting Potential Prevention Effects on Hospital Burden of Nosocomial Infections: A Multistate Modeling Approach



Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) place a substantial burden on health systems. Tools are required to quantify the change in this burden as a result of a preventive intervention. We aim to estimate how much a reduction in the rate of hospital-acquired infections translates into a change in hospital mortality and length of stay.


Using multistate modelling and competing risks methodology, we created a tool to estimate the reduction in burden after the introduction of a preventive effect on the infection rate. The tool requires as inputs the patients’ length of hospital stay, patients’ infection information (status, time), patients’ final outcome (discharged alive, dead), and a preventive effect. We demonstrated the methods on both simulated data and 3 published data sets from Germany, France, and Spain.


A hypothetical prevention that cuts the infection rate in half would result in 21 lives and 2212 patient-days saved in French ventilator-associated pneumonia data, 61 lives and 3125 patient-days saved in Spanish nosocomial infection data, and 20 lives and 1585 patient-days saved in German nosocomial pneumonia data.


Our tool provides a quick and easy means of acquiring an impression of the impact a preventive measure would have on the burden of an infection. The tool requires quantities routinely collected and computation can be done with a calculator. R code is provided for researchers to determine the burden in various settings with various effects. Furthermore, cost data can be used to get the financial benefit of the reduction in burden.

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