Brief Reports

Estimating hospital costs of catheter‐associated urinary tract infection


Healthcare‐associated infections are common, costly, and potentially deadly. However, effective prevention strategies are underutilized, particularly for catheter‐associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI), one of the most common healthcare‐associated infections. Further, since 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services no longer reimburses hospitals for the additional costs of caring for patients who develop CAUTI during hospitalization. Given the resulting payment pressures on hospitals stemming from this decision, it is important to factor in cost implications when attempting to encourage decision makers to support infection prevention measures. To this end, we present a simple tool (with easy‐to‐use online implementation) that hospitals can use to estimate hospital costs due to CAUTI, both before and after an intervention, to reduce inappropriate urinary catheterization. Using previously published cost and risk estimates, we show that an intervention yielding clinically feasible reductions in catheter use can lead to an estimated 50% reduction in CAUTI‐related costs. Our tool is meant to complement the Society of Hospital Medicine's Choosing Wisely campaign, which highlights avoiding placement or continued use of nonindicated urinary catheters as a key area for improving decision making and quality of care while decreasing costs. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2013;8:519–522. © 2013 The Authors Journal of Hospital Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society of Hospital Medicine