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Reducing health care-associated infections (HAIs): lessons learned from a national collaborative of regional HAI programs.

Welsh CA, Flanagan ME, Hoke SC, Doebbeling BN, Herwaldt L, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Hospital-Acquired Infections Collaborative. Reducing health care-associated infections (HAIs): lessons learned from a national collaborative of regional HAI programs. American journal of infection control. 2012 Feb 1; 40(1):29-34.

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BACKGROUND: Health care-associated infections (HAIs) are a leading cause of death in United States health care settings, with an overall estimated annual incidence of 1.7 million. As antimicrobial resistance has increased, so too have efforts to reduce HAI rates. The objective of this study was to identify commonly cited lessons learned across a wide variety of HAI projects and hospital settings. METHODS: Thirty-three hospitals participated in 5 different regional collaboratives supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Data on hospitals' successes, challenges, and lessons learned were collected via key informant interviews and structured, standardized case report forms. RESULTS: Seven commonly cited themes were identified: foster change by first understanding resistance; commit to regular strategic communication and join a collaborative; start small and tailor implementation to local needs and cultures; engage frontline staff by involving them in the project and enlisting champions; educate and reeducate; convince administration to provide leadership, funds, and dedicated staff and assign accountability; and provide timely, relevant feedback and celebrate successes. CONCLUSION: Despite the diversity of hospital settings, cultures, personnel, and HAI reduction projects, we found that hospitals encounter similar challenges and facilitators across projects. We offer a model of 7 process elements shown to be important to successful implementation.

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