Tuesday, February 4, 2014

HHS Plan to Reduce HAIs on Track for Some Categories, Improvements Still Needed

The Health and Human Services’ (HHS) plan to reduce hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) has made progress in numerous areas, but more work is needed to address all of the categories, according to a new RAND Corporation evaluation published in Medical Care.

The HHS National Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections focuses on six high-priority HAI categories: clostridium difficile infection; surgical site infection; central line-associated bloodstream infection; ventilator-associated events; catheter-associated urinary tract infection; and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus.

RAND researchers interviewed with representatives from nine HHS regions and found that providers are on track to meet reduction targets for some, but not all HAI categories, FierceHealthcare reports. One area for improvement is ensuring adequate financial resources and staff for HAI prevention, which could be done through collaboration at the federal, regional, and state levels, according to the report. Through collaboration, alliances can leverage financial resources and staff capabilities to focus on larger initiatives, such as patient safety.

Reducing central line-associated bloodstream infections was the focus of an INQRI-funded study led by David Thompson and Jill Marsteller. Their study, involving 45 intensive care units in 35 hospitals in 12 states, tested a nurse-led intervention that used a bundle of evidence-based practices to reduce infections. The intervention was successful in significantly reducing infections and also highlighted the importance of promoting a culture of safety and communication. It also established that nurses should play a central role in quality improvement interventions.

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