In the final article of the special issue of Medical Care, David Baker and co-authors consider the overall impact of the US Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Action Plan. The authors also describe possible future directions for addressing the continued healthcare-associated infection (HAI) concerns.
The authors determine that the Action Plan prioritized HAI prevention practices, focusing first on reducing HAIs among hospital patients before moving to vaccination efforts for healthcare professionals as a HAI reduction strategy. This prioritization can also be seen in the Action Plan's research strategies, as well as the use of incentives to encourage healthcare practitioners and practices to college data supporting the Plan's metrics and targets. In addition, the authors conclude that the Action Plan improved coordination of HAI data systems across numerous HHS agencies, a major goal for HHS.
Looking forward, the authors determine that HHS must decide how to sustain the Action Plan's momentum. Officials must focus on securing both financial and nonfinancial resources, and to what extent this HAI campaign should be coordinated with other healthcare efforts. The authors focus specifically on the following opportunities:
1. Managing HAIs within the Broader Patient Safety Movement,
2. Using Information Technology (IT) to Monitor and Address HAIs,
3. Connecting the Basic Science and Epidemiology of HAIs with Prevention Practice and Implementation Science, and
4. Taking Advantage of State-of-the-Art Implementation and Dissemination Tools.