Author – Russ Olmsted, MPH, CIC
2011 APIC President
Infection preventionists (IPs) are subject matter experts on the prevention of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). IPs track the scientific literature related to HAI prevention, and then watch that evidence as it is distilled into recommendations by CDC’s Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee.
But what is being done to ensure that these best-practices are being implemented at the patient bedside?
It is the role of the “effector” [the IP] to take these recommendations and apply them to his/her healthcare organization, in collaboration with direct care co-workers. APIC’s Research Task Force recently reviewed the role of the IP in translating scientific evidence to improve patient safety and effectiveness of care—also known as “implementation science.” This should sound familiar to IPs, as we are typically the “linchpins” of applying research that appears in scientific, peer-reviewed journals to policies and practices implemented by our colleagues at the patient’s bedside.
Many of us know, however, that the speed of adopting new findings in the literature to improving the safety of care delivery can be exceedingly slow. For example, a landmark study published in The Lancet in 1991 demonstrated the superior efficacy of 2 percent chlorhexidine for skin preparation prior to insertion of central lines. And yet, 14 years later, only 70 percent of hospitals in a national survey were using this product.
The APIC research report explains that the goal of implementation science is not only to raise awareness but to also use strategies to adopt and integrate evidence-based health interventions and change practice patterns within specific settings.
One area where we are putting this into practice is our “I Believe in Zero CLABSIs” campaign, in which infection preventionists are urged to lead efforts to eliminate these infections in their facilities. As part of this campaign, we have developed a new website to drive the adoption of best practices to eliminate central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs).
In 2011, APIC is going to be emphasizing implementation science through its newly launched APIC Science, Knowledge & Implementation Network (ASK-IN). We encourage readers of this Blog to keep in touch with APIC through its website and to read the full report from the APIC Research Task Force published in the December 2010 issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.