By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – I have one of those good news-bad news scenarios. I like to start with the good news.

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According to a report in The New England Journal of Medicine and released by the CDC, hospitals have been able to cut rates of healthcare-associated infection in half.

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Unfortunately the bad news is that about 1 in 25 patients experience one of these infections every day.

Here are the facts: in 2011 there were an estimated 722,000 hospital acquired acute infections in the US. Almost 75,000 patients died that year as a result.

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Sadly, simple measures like doctors, nurses, hospital workers and families washing hands could cut down that number dramatically.