Implementation Science + the Infection Preventionist = Safe Healthcare

Posted on by Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
Russell N. Olmsted, MPH, CIC
Russell N. Olmsted, MPH, CIC

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.

Posted on by Division of Cancer Prevention and Control

7 comments on “Implementation Science + the Infection Preventionist = Safe Healthcare”

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    Excellent article! We should really address this infection control issue for the improvement of our health care delivery. All health professionals should contribute what they can and communicate with each other on how to effectively implement these best practices at patient bedside.

    longhorne pa hospital

    That’s are really a perfect title. I like this equation. I also support that this is the main theme if health care.

    This is an interesting article for me because my father has had numerous health issues over the last 20 years. In 2010 alone he was admitted into various healthcare facilities both large and small.

    My family and I have witnessed several “infection risk activities” up to and including inserting an IV without the use of gloves.

    Some of these practices concern me because if the healthcare professional feels comfortable enough to do some of these things with the family of the patient present, what are they doing when they are absent.

    One hospital during their initial screening of my father stated that he had MRSA and we all had to wear protective-wear before entering the room and of course wash before leaving. The interesting thing, and the reason I even bring it up is because the very next week he was admitted into a different hospital and was given a shared room.

    We as a family made sure to disclose the MRSA concern however the hospital was not concerned.

    I think that there is a lot of room for improvement in implementing some of the procedures that are present to protect the patient.

    This is just my observation.


    Revitol Dermasis

    We often service health care facilities. Is there something our technicians should do beyond the normal measures to avoid these types of infections? Cabrillo

    You have a great goal of implementing the latest information on controlling health care associated infections as quickly as possible. And this is a goal that needs to be implemented as soon as possible. I think that Health IT can play a real critical role in this process by helping to make the transfer from research to patient bedside as rapid, safe, and seamless as possible. Health IT can also improve the communications processes from department to department in each hospital as well as in and between medical networks of hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics.
    I do have some questions about how soon we can be able to implement the latest health care associated infections control information in nursing homes and clinics. (1) I wonder how many nursing homes and clinics have infection control staff? (2) How many have Health IT or any good ongoing communications processes between themselves and hospitals? (3) Are rural hospitals as advanced in dealing with these infections are large teaching hospitals in major metroploitan areas are? (4) Are ruralnursing homes and clinics able to have access to health IT or in some cases to any internet service? The answers to these questions will also help inform the discussion on how rapidly and efficiently we can get better infection controlstrategies implemented. And a last question I have is: In urban areas where there maybe several large hospitals or medical centers are they collaborating, coordinating, and communicating between them on infection control? Or, is each one trying to go its own way? Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

    MRSA is in the community, schools, hospitals, gyms, and jails. I currently am employed as a school nurse and working on my Master’s in Family Nurse Practitioner. Because of cutbacks in our school district, toilet seat covers are being discontinued to save costs. The head of custodial services consider toilet seat covers to be “Warm fuzzies”. My arguement is: If someone has an open, draining wound (MRSA positive) and sits on the toilet seat and does not wipe it, someone else can sit on the toilet seat and if they have an open wound contract MRSA, also. There are no wipes to disinfect the toilet seat after each use. Even if there were disinfecting wipes to clean the toilet seat is there a condition such as a dermatitis one can get from disinfecting the toilet seat after each use?
    My thoughts are if one can contract MRSA from objects such as door handles, tables, gym equipment, MRSA can be on toilet seats. I welcome any thoughts or comments you may have regarding MRSA and toilet seat covers.

    Deborah Feuerborn RN, BSN
    Pasco School District
    Pasco, Washington 99301

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Page last updated: November 18, 2016