Quality Measures

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 been prevented. Hospitals can prevent these infections by following the right steps.

HAIs are rare; however, these infections can cause serious injury and 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.

Preventing HAIs is considered an indicator of the quality of patient care.

Two of the most common HAIs are:1

  • Clostridium difficile (C. diff): A bacteria that causes diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, nausea and stomach pain. It has become drug resistant and could be fatal. Older adults, people on antibiotics and those recovering from surgery are most likely to get C. diff.
  • Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA): A bacteria that can cause infection in people. "Regular" strains of staph bacteria can usually be treated by the antibiotic Methicillin. However, some strains of staph have developed that resist the effect of Methicillin and similar drugs. MRSA is hard to treat because it resists so many antibiotics.

Our data for these measures come from the Federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The data on CompareMaine covers the April 1, 2019 – September 30, 2020 reporting period.

We use the Standardized Infection Ratio (SIR) which is a statistic used to track healthcare associated infections over time. The SIR compares the actual number of HAIs at each hospital, to the predicted number of HAIs. 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 facility than were predicted. A SIR lower than 1.0 indicates the facility 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. As a result, the facility’s performance may differ from the National rating.

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