Journal article Open Access

Interfacility patient sharing and Clostridioides difficile infection incidence in the Ontario hospital system: A 13-year cohort study

Brown, Kevin A.; McGeer, Allison; Schwartz, Kevin L.; Diong, Christina; Etches, Jacob; Garber, Gary; Johnstone, Jennie; Langford, Bradley; Daneman, Nick

Objective: Interfacility patient movement plays an important role in the dissemination of antimicrobial-resistant organisms throughout healthcare systems. We evaluated how 3 alternative measures of interfacility patient sharing were associated with C. difficile infection incidence in Ontario acute-care facilities. Design: The cohort included adult acute-care facility stays of ≥3 days between April 2003 and March 2016. We measured 3 facility-level metrics of patient sharing: general patient importation, incidence-weighted patient importation, and C. difficile case importation. Each of the 3 patient-sharing metrics were examined against the incidence of C. difficile infection in the facility per 1,000 stays, using Poisson regression models. Results: The analyzed cohort included 6.70 million stays at risk of C. difficile infection across 120 facilities. Over the 13-year period, we included 62,189 new cases of healthcare-associated CDI (incidence, 9.3 per 1,000 stays). After adjustment for facility characteristics, general importation was not strongly associated with C. difficile infection incidence (risk ratio [RR] per doubling, 1.10; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.97–1.24; proportional change in variance [PCV], −2.0%). Incidence-weighted (RR per doubling, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.06–1.30; PCV, −8.4%) and C. difficile case importation (RR per doubling, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.29–1.58; PCV, −30.1%) were strongly associated with C. difficile infection incidence. Conclusions: In this 13-year study of acute-care facilities in Ontario, interfacility variation in C. difficile infection incidence was associated with importation of patients from other high-incidence acute-care facilities or specifically of patients with a recent history of C. difficile infection. Regional infection control strategies should consider the potential impact of importation of patients at high risk of C. difficile shedding from outside facilities.

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