Want to lower infection rates and offset building costs? Use single-patient rooms, study says

Although high building costs are associated with private hospital rooms, new research suggests the financial benefit of keeping patients safer from infection transmission offsets the construction expenses.

Researchers from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, crunched the numbers for rates of return of building single-patient rooms or converting existing multi-patient rooms into private rooms, including long-term operational costs. Using a probabilistic approach, they reported that over a five-year period, the return on investment due to reduced cross contamination rates and cutting additional medical costs associated with higher infection rates would offset money spent on single-patient room construction or multi-patient room conversion.

"We showed that although single-patient rooms are more costly to build and operate, they can result in substantial savings compared with open-bay rooms – all of this by avoiding costs associated with hospital-acquired infections," Hessam Sadatsafavi, Cornell University postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the paper, said in a statement.

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