Infection prevention continues to be a hot topic in health care as medical professionals stress patient safety. The number of health care-acquired infections and surgical site infections in recent years has brought an added focus to infection prevention, including new regulations and reimbursement policies.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual report on HAIs shows progress in the fight against these sometimes deadly incidents. However, it admits that the United States did not meet its 2013 goals set in 2009 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Health care-associated infections (HAI) are a major, yet often preventable, threat to patient safety. The National and State Healthcare-Associated Infections Progress Report expands and provides an update on previous reports detailing progress toward the ultimate goal of eliminating HAIs. Infection data in this report includes central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI), catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI), select surgical site infections (SSI), hospital-onset Clostridium difficile infections (C. difficile), and hospital-onset methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia (bloodstream infections),” according to the CDC website. “The HAI Progress Report describes significant reductions reported at the national level in 2013 for nearly all infections. CLABSI and SSI show the greatest reduction, with some progress shown in reducing hospital-onset MRSA bacteremia and hospital-onset C. difficile infections. The report shows an increase in CAUTI, signaling a strong need for additional prevention efforts.”

On the national level, the progress report found:

• A 46 percent decrease in CLABSI between 2008 and 2013

• A 19 percent decrease in SSIs related to the 10 select procedures tracked in the report between 2008 and 2013

• A 6 percent increase in CAUTI between 2009 and 2013; although initial data from 2014 seem to indicate that these infections have started to decrease

• An 8 percent decrease in hospital-onset MRSA bacteremia between 2011 and 2013

• A 10 percent decrease in hospital-onset C. difficile infections between 2011 and 2013

The report helps measure progress toward the five-year HAI prevention goals outlined in the National Action Plan to Prevent Health Care-Associated Infections: Road Map to Elimination set in 2009 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Progress is measured using the standardized infection ratio (SIR), a summary statistic used to track HAI prevention progress over time.

“More action is needed at every level of public health and health care to improve patient safety and eliminate infections that commonly threaten hospital patients,” according to the CDC website.

The infection prevention market is expected to continue to grow over the next few years with the overall global infection prevention market forecast to reach $14 billion by 2017, according to a recent report from MarketsAndMarkets.com. The report includes sterilization and disinfection practices.

Some other tools that are a part of the fight against infections, including HAIs and SSIs, are surgical drapes, gloves, masks, air treatments, surface treatments, bathing solutions and antiseptics. Single-use products are also a weapon in the fight against infections, especially concerning cross-containination.

Factors impacting the growth of the infection prevention market in the United States include health care reforms, regulations and a growing number of individuals who have access to health insurance. An aging global population and the spread of quality health care to developing nations is fueling the growth of the global infection prevention market.