Study: Infection Preventionists Know Safe Care

Washington, DC, February 1, 2013 – There is general agreement among hospital infection preventionists (IPs) with respect to which practices have weak or strong evidence supporting their use to prevent healthcare-associated infection, according to a new study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

Furthermore, IPs with certification in infection prevention and control (CIC®) are two to three times more likely to perceive the evidence behind certain infection prevention practices as strong, compared to their non-certified peers.

IPs lead programs in hospitals and other healthcare facilities that protect patients and healthcare personnel from infections. The study was conducted to understand how those who lead infection prevention activities perceive the strength of evidence behind practices aimed at preventing device- and procedure-associated infections and lessening the risk of cross transmission of microorganisms in healthcare facilities.

A research team led by Sanjay Saint, MD, MPH, of the VA Ann Arbor & University of Michigan Medical School collected survey responses from infection prevention personnel at 478 U.S. hospitals to determine the perceived strength of evidence behind 28 of the most common hospital infection prevention practices. The following practices were perceived by 90 percent or more of the respondents as having strong evidence to support their use: alcohol-based hand rub, aseptic urinary catheter insertion, chlorhexidine for antisepsis prior to central venous catheter insertion, maximum sterile barriers during central venous catheter insertion, avoiding the femoral site for central venous catheter insertion, and semi-recumbent positioning of patients on ventilators.

Conversely, practices with the weakest perceived evidence were routine central catheter changes, using silver-coated endotracheal tubes for ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), nitrofurazone-releasing urinary catheters, and the use antimicrobials in the urinary catheter drainage bag.

According to Dr. Saint, lead study author, “the perceived strength of evidence among infection prevention personnel across the country generally tracked with the actual strength of the evidence for various practices that have been reported in evidence-based guidelines.”

The research team further examined the perceptions of evidence supporting practice use between certified and non-certified IPs. Compared to their non-certified counterparts, CIC® IPs were more likely to perceive the strength of evidence as strong for a number of infection prevention practices including: regular interruption of sedation for VAP patients, nurse-initiated urinary catheter discontinuation to prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infection, and antimicrobial stewardship programs.

“Understanding the impact of board certification on the effectiveness of an infection prevention program is imperative,” said Russell Olmsted, MPH, CIC, study co-author. “This study adds to mounting evidence that suggests that CIC® may lead to greater evidence-based practice, which may result in the reduction of both healthcare-associated infections and hospital costs.”

Certification in infection prevention and control (CIC®) is the centerpiece of a new competency model developed by APIC to advance the profession. The content areas of the model correspond to the core competencies as defined by the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology (CBIC).

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Notes for Editors
“Perceived strength of evidence supporting best practices to prevent healthcare-associated infection: Results from a national survey of infection prevention personnel” by Sanjay Saint, M. Todd Greene, Russell N. Olmsted, Vineet Chopra, Jennifer Meddings, Nasia Safdar and Sarah L. Krein appears in the American Journal of Infection Control, Volume 41, Issue 2 (February 2013).

Full text of the article is available to journalists upon request; contact Liz Garman, APIC, 202-454-2604, egarman@apic.orgto obtain copies.

Authors
Sanjay Saint, MD, MPH (Corresponding Author)
Department of Internal Medicine, VA Ann Arbor & University of Michigan Medical School
Ann Arbor, MI

M. Todd Greene, PhD, MPH
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School
Ann Arbor, MI

Russell N. Olmsted, MPH, CIC
Saint Joseph Mercy Health System
Ann Arbor, MI

Vineet Chopra, MD, MSc
Department of Internal Medicine, VA Ann Arbor & University of Michigan Medical School
Ann Arbor, MI

Jennifer Meddings, MD, MSc
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School
Ann Arbor, MI

Nasia Safdar, MD, PhD
Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Madison, WI

Sarah L. Krein, PhD, RN
Department of Internal Medicine, VA Ann Arbor & University of Michigan Medical School
Ann Arbor, MI

About AJIC: American Journal of Infection Control
AJIC: American Journal of Infection Control (www.ajicjournal.org) covers key topics and issues in infection control and epidemiology. Infection preventionists, including physicians, nurses, and epidemiologists, rely on AJIC for peer-reviewed articles covering clinical topics as well as original research. As the official publication of APIC, AJIC is the foremost resource on infection control, epidemiology, infectious diseases, quality management, occupational health, and disease prevention. AJIC also publishes infection control guidelines from APIC and the CDC. Published by Elsevier, AJIC is included in MEDLINE and CINAHL.

About APIC
APIC’s mission is to create a safer world through prevention of infection. The association’s more than 14,000 members direct infection prevention programs that save lives and improve the bottom line for hospitals and other healthcare facilities. APIC advances its mission through patient safety, implementation science, competencies and certification, advocacy, and data standardization. Visit APIC online at www.apic.org. Follow APIC on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apic.

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Media contact
Liz Garman
+1 202 454 2604
egarman@apic.org