Background: Economic evidence is needed to assess the burden of health care-associated infections (HAIs) and cost-effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing related morbidity and mortality. The objective of this study was conducted to assess the quality of economic evaluations related to HAI and synthesize the evidence.
Methods: A systematic review of research published between January 2001 and June 2004 was conducted. Quality of the publication was estimated using a Likert-type scale. All cost estimates were standardized into a common currency. Descriptive statistics and a logistic regression were conducted to identify predictors of high quality.
Results: 70 studies were audited. There was wide variation in these cost estimates. Publications estimating the cost attributable to an infection were almost 7 times more likely judged to be of higher quality than studies of the cost of interventions (P < .05). Papers in which the authors stated the perspective (hospital or societal) were twice as likely to be judged as being of high quality (P < .05).
Conclusion: There are more publications and growing interest in estimating the costs of HAI. However, the methods employed vary. We recommend (1) the use of guidelines for authors and editors on conducting an economic analysis, (2) development of more sophisticated mathematical models, and (3) training of infection control professionals in economic methods.