Does reporting help?

Last reviewed: March 2010

Peter Pronovost at Johns Hopkins believes that public accountability powerfully motivates hospitals to get their infection rates under control. He notes that in many states without public-reporting laws, "only 20 percent of the hospitals are signing up" for Sebelius' initiative, whereas more hospitals have signed up in states where they face the prospect of public disclosure of infection rates.

In Pennsylvania, the first state to publicly report hospital infections, the number of infections dropped by almost 8 percent between 2006 and 2007, the first and second years of reporting.

And in the first two years in New York state, where hospitals started public reporting in 2007, officials are starting to see measured decreases in surgical–site infection rates in a majority of hospitals, according to Rachel Stricof, director of the state Department of Health's bureau of health–care–associated infections. "I do believe it is because of reporting," she said.