Outbreaks at hospitals are a common and costly issue—an estimated one in every 31 hospitalized patients in the US has at least one hospital-acquired infection at any given time, costing healthcare systems “billions of dollars” annually, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Researchers from the CDC, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, HCA Healthcare, and the University of California, Irvine Health have developed an automated tool that can anticipate hospital disease outbreaks.

The tool can help medical professionals anticipate outbreaks of hundreds of pathogens and is meant to be an “early warning system” for hospitals, according to a CDC-funded study.

The researchers found that the tool had helped achieve a 64% reduction in the size of potential outbreaks in a pre-pandemic clinical trial (dubbed the Cluster trial) involving 82 HCA-owned hospitals across 16 states.

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