About the study

What Is Healthcare Associated Infection?

A small number of patients develop infections after being admitted to hospital. These infections are known as healthcare-associated infections (HAI) or nosocomial infections (NI). They can happen when the patient is in hospital or just after they leave and can range from a cough to an infected surgical wound. Tackling and reducing these infections is a key priority for the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland in terms of the safety and wellbeing of patients, staff and the public.

There are lots of reasons why someone can develop an infection. Being ill or receiving healthcare can make your natural defence system (immune system) weaker than usual. Most people won’t pick up an infection while they are being treated but it is impossible to completely remove all the risk during healthcare. At any one time in Scottish adult acute hospitals one in twenty two patients will have a healthcare associated infection.1

When healthcare associated infections do happen they affect the patients, their family, carers and employers. They also impact on the health service due to patients having longer stays, more tests and treatments over a longer period and the requirement for infection control measures to be used. Patients may require additional support when they leave hospital as a result of the HAI. Information on the impact in terms of additional cost of treatment, reduction in quality of life and cost to society is not fully described.


What is the Evaluation of Cost of Nosocomial Infection (ECONI) study going to do?

This study will collect epidemiological and economic data on patients with and without HAI and develop a framework around which the cost effectiveness of a range of Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) interventions can be assessed.

The study has four aims:

  1. Determine the incidence and type of HAI in hospital
  2. Estimate the impact of HAI in hospital
  3. Investigate the impact of HAI on care post discharge
  4. Develop a framework to support decision making for future investment in Infection Prevention and Control.

Each aim has a number of questions which will be addressed during the study. A full list can be seen here:


Working in collaboration

The ECONI team of researchers have range of knowledge, skills and experience of working in collaboration on questions relating to HAI and the cost of illness.

The study is being managed by a team at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU). They are part of the larger Safeguarding Health through Infection Prevention (SHIP) research team at GCU. The Scottish Government Health Department are represented on our Steering Committee as are the Infection Prevention Society.

The Management team will undertake the day to day work on the study and this will be overseen by the ECONI Steering Committee who will review the work, give advice on the study design and ensure that the study is governed correctly.


Who will use the information from the study?

The beneficiaries of this research will include researchers, policy makers, service providers and infection prevention and control professionals and ultimately patients.

The findings of the study will be published in scientific peer reviewed journals. Lay person summaries of all the research findings will be published simultaneously on this web site. The lay summaries of the initial publications will be included within the questionnaires sent to patients to report the findings as the study proceeds.

The team have strong links with both national and international organisations involved in Infection Prevention and Control.


Project groups



The study is funded by Health Protection Scotland.


Ethical Review

The Case Comparator study has been received a favourable opinion from RECA 16/SS/0199: The study protocol number is 196682.  


Study Registration

The study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03253640



1              Health Protection Scotland. Health Protection Scotland. Scottish National Point Prevalence Survey of Healthcare Associated Infection and Antimicrobial Prescribing 2016: Health Protection Scotland, 2017. http://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/haiic/sshaip/haiprevalencestudy.aspx