Editor’s note: A version of this blog post first appeared on the website for BLR’s Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare magazine .
A new study found that in addition to being a deadly killer of patients, and in some cases afflicting healthcare workers, antibiotic-resistant infections cost U.S. hospitals more than $2 billion each year. The study was conducted by researchers from Emory University and Saint Louis University and published in Health Affairs last week .
The researchers cite a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that antibiotic-resistant infections kill 23,000 Americans annually. The study used data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to estimate incremental healthcare costs of treating these infections, which the researchers say is the first national estimate of the price tag for this treatment.
The study found that antibiotic resistance adds $1,383 to the cost of treating a patient with a bacterial infection. Taking the estimated number of these infections in 2014, the researchers say the national cost of treatment is $2.2 billion annually.
The findings point to “the need for innovative new infection prevention programs, antibiotics, and vaccines to prevent and treat antibiotic-resistant infections,” the researchers wrote.