What Are We Measuring?

Clostridioides difficile (C-diff) is a type of bacteria that is associated with long-term antibiotic treatment and can cause diarrheal illness as well as colon inflammation. Long-term antibiotic treatment can disrupt normal intestinal bacteria, making patients more susceptible to an overgrowth of C-diff bacteria.

C-diff spores can survive outside the human body for an extended period and can be spread through contact with contaminated surfaces.

How Are We Performing?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reports C-diff using a standardized infection ratio (SIR). The standardized infection ratio is a risk-adjusted summary measure that compares the observed number of infections to the predicted number of infections during a selected time period. The measure takes into account risk factors that may impact the number of infections at a facility, including facility size, the types of patients treated and kinds of procedures performed.

SIRs below one indicate that the observed number of infections during the measured period was lower than would be expected, while values above one indicate that the observed number of infections was higher than expected.

C-diff Infections

Lower scores are better

Data Source: National Healthcare Safety Network

   ★ Performance is statistically better than the benchmark
= Performance is statistically similar to the benchmark
   ▼ Performance is statistically worse than the benchmark


What Are We Doing to Prevent C-diff?

To reduce the spread of C-diff, Mass General employees consistently follow guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control:

  • Patients with C-diff are placed in private rooms
  • Health care providers wear gowns and gloves while providing care to patients with C-diff
  • Employees wash their hands with soap and water followed by Cal Stat (an alcohol-based hand rub) after providing care to a patient with C-dif
  • Proper cleaning of environment and medical equipment must be conducted at all times
  • Appropriate testing method to identify C-diff infections must be used
  • Antibiotics must be appropriately administered