One of the challenges infection preventionists face is convincing hospital executives the value of their work, in terms of dollars saved for the hospital. In almost every hospital, infection control is considered a cost center. This perception makes it difficult for IPs to obtain new resources and during times of economic hardship, infection control budgets are often ones that get cut first.
SHEA published a guideline on making a business case for infection control that listed concrete steps to help IPs evaluate resource options using economic analysis, which in turn can be presented to hospital executives who are making budget decisions. Dr. Eli Perencevich, who helped write the document, talked about the core concepts at this year's APIC conference.
The idea that I like the best is calculating the additional number of bed-days that become available as a result of good infection prevention. hospitals make money by bringing in new patients. The number of patients a hospital can accomodate is limited by the number of beds available. In addition to calculating cost saved, IPs can also show the revenue generated by reducing infection rates.