Questionable validity of the catheter-associated urinary tract infection metric used for value-based purchasing

Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) occur in 290,000 US hospital patients annually, with an estimated cost of $290 million.

Two different measurement systems are being used to track the US health care system's performance in lowering the rate of CAUTIs. Since 2010, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) metric has shown a 28.2% decrease in CAUTI, whereas the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention metric has shown a 3%-6% increase in CAUTI since 2009. Differences in data acquisition and the definition of the denominator may explain this discrepancy. The AHRQ metric analyzes chart-audited data and reflects both catheter use and care.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention metric analyzes self-reported data and primarily reflects catheter care. Because analysis of the AHRQ metric showed a progressive change in performance over time and the scientific literature supports the importance of catheter use in the prevention of CAUTI, it is suggested that risk-adjusted catheter-use data be incorporated into metrics that are used for determining facility performance and for value-based purchasing initiatives.

Am J Infect Control. 2015 Jun 30. pii: S0196-6553(15)00613-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2015.05.024. [Epub ahead of print]

Calderon LE1, Kavanagh KT2, Rice MK3.

1 Eastern Kentucky University, Department of Biological Sciences, Richmond, KY; Health Watch USA, Somerset, KY.
2 Health Watch USA, Somerset, KY.
3 Eastern Kentucky University, Department of Biological Sciences, Richmond, KY.

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