To describe the results of a survey of members of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) that (1) measured members' perceptions of gaps in the healthcare epidemiology knowledge base and members' priorities for SHEA research goals, (2) assessed whether members would be willing to participate in consortia to address identified gaps in knowledge, and (3) evaluated the need for training for the next generation of investigators in the field of healthcare epidemiology.
Electronic and paper survey of members of SHEA, a professional society formed to advance the science of healthcare epidemiology through research and education.
All society members were invited to participate.
Of 1,289 SHEA members, 593 (46.0%) responded. Respondents identified the following issues as important for the Research Committee of SHEA: setting the scientific agenda for healthcare epidemiology, developing collaborative infrastructure to conduct research, and developing funding mechanisms for research. Respondents ranked multidrug-resistant gram-negative organisms, antimicrobial stewardship, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, adherence to effective hand hygiene guidelines, and Clostridium difficile infections as the most important scientific issues facing the field. Respondents ranked inadequate project funding, lack of protected time for research, and inability to obtain a grant, contract, and/or outside funding as the most significant barriers to conducting research. More than 92% of respondents support creating a SHEA research consortium; more than 40% would participate even if no additional funding were available; nearly 90% identified developing research training as a key function for SHEA.
These data provide a road map for the SHEA Research Committee for the next decade.