Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) generally are thought to cost hospitals about $1,000 each, but new research suggests the actual cost may be much higher.
Research published in the American Journal of Infection Control indicates the true cost could be more than $10,000 per CAUTI.
Researchers Christopher S. Hollenbeak, PhD, professor of surgery and public health sciences at Pennsylvania State University, and Amber L. Schilling, PharmD, MEd, research analyst at the Penn State College of Medicine, reviewed existing literature on CAUTIs in the United States between 2000 and 2017.
The data were limited, but “we can conclude that the prevailing notion of a CAUTI costing approximately $1,000 is an underestimate and an oversimplification of its true economic burden,” Hollenbeak and Schilling wrote. “Many factors can increase the attributable cost well above $1,000.”
Costs reported in the four studies ranged from $876 to $10,197, adjusted for the equivalent of 2016 dollars, they reported.
The broad range was attributable to the different settings in which the CAUTIs occurred, they explained. The lower cost was associated with adult patients in an inpatient setting and calculated from the hospital’s perspective, and the higher costs were from ICU patients and calculated from Medicare’s perspective.
The researchers concluded that the true cost of a CAUTI is determined by the patient’s acuity, the population, and whether the cost is calculated from the viewpoint of the hospital or Medicare. An abstract of the study is available online at: http://bit.ly/2F6B3jW.