- Associated Press - Monday, August 4, 2014

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - State officials say New Hampshire’s hospital-acquired infection rates are showing improvement compared with national data.

New Hampshire’s 33 hospitals have been required since 2009 to provide data on patients who develop infections after heart, colon and knee surgeries or through central lines - catheters inserted in blood vessels near the heart or another major vessel.

The latest report, released Friday, covers 2013, and shows a total of 183 infections. The total was 198 in 2012 and 110 in 2011. The state Department of Health and Human Services says the increased number of infections reported in 2012-1013 was due to the expansion of hospital reporting requirements.

The department says the overall observed number of hospital infections was 30 percent lower than predicted, based on national data.

The latest report, as well as for 2012, provided more data, including information on urinary tract infections associated with catheters in pediatric and adult intensive care units, as well as surgical site infections following hysterectomy procedures. The report said the infection rates for these procedures were higher or similar, compared with national data, suggesting that current hospital practices or data collections should be reviewed.

Three hospitals had fewer infections overall than expected - Portsmouth Regional, Lakes Regional General, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Nineteen had infection rates that were in line with national data. Others were not included in the comparisons because they were expected to have less than one infection.

The report also looked at how well hospitals adhere to infection prevention practices, including following certain procedures for inserting central lines and encouraging staff to get vaccinated against influenza. Hospitals maintained high compliance rates overall.

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