Other Healthcare Associated Infections Measures

Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections

What are we measuring and why?

Healthcare associated infections (HAI) are infections that patients acquire while receiving medical treatment in a healthcare facility. These infections are often harmful and costly to treat, but can usually be prevented through the use of proper precautions and infection control practices. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) publishes hospital HAI results, which are increasingly used to assess the quality and safety of patient care. Data are reported as a standardized infection ratio (SIR), which compares a hospital’s observed number of infections to its predicted number of infections, after adjusting for institutional characteristics known to cause differences in incidence. A lower SIR is better, with the ultimate goal of zero infections.

How are we doing and how do we compare to best practice?

Though considered largely preventable, Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infection (CAUTI) is the most common HAI reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These infections are associated with insertion, maintenance, or prolonged usage of a urinary catheter – a sterile tube inserted into a patient’s bladder to drain urine. While catherization is necessary in many circumstances (such as postoperative recovery), when not inserted or maintained properly, catheters can allow germs to enter the urinary tract. To reduce the risk of infection, it is important to avoid inappropriate catheter use, follow evidence-based practices when catheters are in place, and remove these devices as soon as they are no longer medically necessary.

Publicly reported CAUTI rates include adult and pediatric medical, surgical, and combined medical/surgical units and all intensive care units except the neonatal ICU. In 2017, MGH’s CAUTI SIR (0.68) was statistically better than the national benchmark (1.0). 


  • Current Scores
  • Scores Over Time
  • Lower values are better
0.87 0.68

MGH Source: National Healthcare Safety Network
Comparison Group Source: CMS Hospital Compare

MGH: Jan - Dec 2017
CMS: Jan - Dec 2017

0.65 0.56 0.68 0.98 0.94 0.87

MGH Source: National Healthcare Safety Network
Comparison Group Source: CMS Hospital Compare

What are we doing to improve?

MGH is committed to preventing HAIs, and there are many efforts underway to minimize CAUTI risk throughout the hospital. We have aligned our clinical processes and technologies with national guidelines to ensure that every catheterized patient receives the safest, most appropriate care possible. Our computerized physician order entry system helps identify appropriate indications for catheter placement and issues reminders for catheter removal. Additionally, we have centralized access to prevention resources through MGH’s regulatory readiness portal, which plays a critical role in disseminating evidence-based best practices hospital-wide. The cumulative effect of these interventions, and the hard work of our staff, has led to a remarkable reduction in CAUTI incidence over the past five years.


« Previous Page