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Long-term care facilities in Utah: a description of human and information technology resources applied to infection control practice.

Jones M, Samore MH, Carter M, Rubin MA. Long-term care facilities in Utah: a description of human and information technology resources applied to infection control practice. American journal of infection control. 2012 Jun 1; 40(5):446-50.

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BACKGROUND: Little is known about the implementation of infection control (IC) programs and information technology (IT) infrastructure in long-term care facilities (LTCFs). We assessed the IC human resources, IT infrastructure, and IC scope of practice at LTCFs in Utah. METHODS: All LTCFs throughout Utah (n = 80) were invited to complete a written survey in 2005 regarding IC staffing, policies and practices, and IT infrastructure and capacity. RESULTS: Responses were received from 62 facilities (77.5%). Most infection preventionists (IPs) were registered nurses (71%) with on-the-job training (81.7%). Most had other duties besides their IC work (93.5%), which took up the majority of their time. Most facilities provided desktop computers (96.8%) and all provided Internet access, but some of the infrastructure was not current. A minority (14.5%) used sophisticated software packages to support their IC activities. Less than 20% of the facilities had integrated radiology, diagnostic laboratory, or microbiology data with their facility computer system. The Internet was used primarily as a reference tool (77.4%). Most IPs reported taking responsibility for routine surveillance and monitoring tasks, but a substantial number did not perform all queried tasks. They may have difficulty with feedback of specific unit and physician infection rates (43.2% and 67.7%, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings underscore what has previously been reported about LTCFs' IC human resources and IP scope of practice. We also found that some IT infrastructure was outdated, and that existing resources were underutilized for IC purposes.

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