Other Healthcare Associated Infections Measures

MRSA Incidence

What are we measuring and why?

MGH tracks the rate of new hospital-acquired cases of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, which is a bacterium with a high resistance to most antibiotics. Vulnerable patients include older adults; individuals with a weakened immune system, burns, surgical wounds, an invasive device, or other serious underlying health problems; and those who have recently been prescribed antibiotics. The infection can vary depending on where bacteria is harbored by the patient. There are several measures that health care providers and staff can take to reduce the transmission of MRSA and prevent associated complications.

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

Since we began tracking MRSA incidence, MGH has seen a sharp decline in the rate of new infections from 84 patients (1.21 per 1,000 patient days) in the fourth quarter of 2005 to now 33 patients (0.43 per 1,000 patient days) in the fourth quarter of 2016. There are no national targets or benchmarks for this safety measure; however, our goal is to sustain improvements and continue to reduce the number of cases each year.

  • Current Scores
  • Scores Over Time
  • Lower values are better
0.34 0.43

MGH Source: MGH Infection Control data
Comparison Group Source: MGH Infection Control data

Oct - Dec 2016 data.

0.29 0.5 0.34 0.21 0.26 0.43 0.44 0.26 0.34 0.34 0.34 0.34 0.34 0.34 0.34 0.34

MGH Source: MGH Infection Control data
Comparison Group Source: MGH Infection Control data

What are we doing to improve?

MGH has seen a substantial drop in new cases of MRSA, which we attribute to hospital-wide increases in hand hygiene compliance. Several additional infection control practices are contributing to the overall success of the effort. These include:

  • Surveillance systems to track bacterial outbreaks
  • Isolation of infected patients, use of protective garments, and other precautionary techniques

What can you do?

Patients and their families can help protect themselves from MRSA and other hospital-acquired infections by being vigilant.

Before you allow a clinician to touch you or a family member, ask them whether they have properly cleaned their hands. Don’t be shy about it; it’s your health that is at stake.


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