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Hospital Infections in Washington—New Web Site Shows How They Rate

By Washington State Department of Health

Washington residents can now see and compare infection rates for hospitals in the state with a first-of-its-kind resource. Infection information reported by the state Department of Health is accessible online.

Infections that develop during or soon after care in a hospital are known as health care associated infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says these types of infections are one of the top 10 leading causes of death nationwide—and many of them are preventable.

Washington is one of 26 states required to publicly report hospital infection rates. In 2007 the legislature directed the state health department to establish the Healthcare Associated Infections Program.

“Patient safety is our priority and effective infection control is a key,” says Secretary of Health Mary Selecky. “People now have access to information about infection rates in hospitals across the state that they didn’t have before. Our Web site allows everyone to take better control of their health and feel confident about health care choices they make for their families.”

The information on the new Web site gives consumers a chance to consider infection rates when making health care decisions. It also shows people ways to prevent health care associated infections. The rates for two major categories of infections are posted on the Web site—central line infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia infections. Central lines are primarily used to deliver large amounts of medications or fluids into big blood vessels. Surgical site infection rates will be added next year; however, people can still learn about the risks and ways to prevent each type of infection.

The Department of Health worked with many health care professionals, members of the public, and organizations, including AARP and the Washington State Hospital Association, to create this new resource. The agency’s Healthcare Associated Infections Program is working to make the Web site more user-friendly. Send comments and feedback to program contact Alia Kennedy at

The staff is working with Washington hospitals to ensure accuracy of data and timely updates.

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