Patient and Family Resources
Healthcare-associated infection (HAI) is the term used for an infection that occurs in a patient as a direct consequence of the healthcare interventions being delivered to them. HAIs are one of the major types of adverse events that can occur in the healthcare environment and are a considerable patient safety concern. HAIs represent a diverse group of complications, ranging from infections that occur in a surgical wound to pneumonias among patients on ventilators. They vary based on the reason that the patient is receiving care, the type of interventions being administered, the portion of the healthcare system being used by the patient, and the patient's underlying health status and circumstances. HAIs also vary in terms of their impact on the patient, the outcome and their cost. They can be relatively minor and easily treatable or they can result in significant patient deterioration, longer hospital stays and even death. As a group, HAIs are considered among the leading causes of death in the United States and have been estimated to cost the healthcare system tens of billions of dollars annually.