Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are infections that patients contract while seeking care for other conditions. Providers, researchers, and policymakers have sought to better understand and prevent these infections, evidenced by the recent Action Plan by Health and Human Services (HHS). Translating the research on HAIs into prevention practice, however, is complicated given the number of stakeholders, clinicians, policymakers, and safety experts invested in this goal. To better understand the progress and challenges in combining HAI research and prevention practices, Elizabeth Gall and Daniel Weinberg co-authored a study that examined the HHS Action Plan's goals, inputs and implementation.
Researchers used a Context-Input-Process-Product (CIPP), focusing on: 1) the Context that created HAI prevalence and efforts to contain them; 2) the Inputs, or decisions, of how to use resources, infrastructure, and relationships to determine which activities to implement; 3) the Processes of implementing those activities; and 4) the Products or outcomes of the Action Plan. Researchers combined this model with the HAI prevention system framework, which includes 4 distinct system functions that help the healthcare system prevent HAIs: Infrastructure Development, HAI Data and Monitoring, Knowledge Development, and Adoption of HAI Prevention Practices. Methodologies used include reviewing articles and other documents, observations of interagency meetings and national stakeholder conferences, interviews with Federal and government stakeholders, as well as interviews with nongovernmental stakeholders.
This study shows the progress HHS has made in prioritizing research findings, as well as translating those findings into practice. Since the Action Plan was introduced, the work by various Federal and state agencies, researchers, and practitioners has improved national awareness of HAIs, as well as the need for continued coordinated efforts to eliminate HAIs. Researchers have determined that the Action Plan's goals have been reflected in the number of inputs and implementation strategies resulting in creation of new prevention practice evidence and a more coordinated approach to combatting HAI prevalence.