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Environmental cleaning is important in the interruption of pathogen transmission. Although prevention initiatives have targeted environmental cleaning, practice variations exist and compliance is low. Evaluation of human factors influencing variations in cleaning practices can be valuable in developing interventions to standardized practices. We conducted a work-system analysis using a human-factors engineering (HFE) framework to identify barriers and facilitators to environmental cleaning practices in acute and long-term care settings within the Veterans’ Affairs health system.
We conducted a qualitative study with key stakeholders at 3 VA facilities. We analyzed transcripts for thematic content and mapped themes to the HFE framework.
Staffing consistency was felt to improve cleaning practices and teamwork. We found that many environmental management service (EMS) staff were veterans who were motivated to serve fellow veterans, especially to prevent infections. However, hiring veterans comes with regulatory hurdles that affect staffing. Sites reported some form of monitoring their cleaning process, but there was variation in method and frequency. The EMS workload was affected by whether rooms were occupied by patients or were semiprivate rooms; both were reportedly more difficult to clean. Room design and surface finishes were identified as important to cleaning efficiency.
HFE work analysis identified barriers and facilitators to environmental cleaning. These findings highlight intervention entry points that may facilitate standardized work practices. There is a need to develop task-specific procedures such as cleaning occupied beds and semiprivate rooms. Future research should evaluate interventions that address these determinants of environmental cleaning.
We assessed the implementation of telehealth-supported stewardship activities in acute-care units and long-term care (LTC) units in Veterans’ Administration medical centers (VAMCs).
Before-and-after, quasi-experimental implementation effectiveness study with a baseline period (2019–2020) and an intervention period (2021).
The study was conducted in 3 VAMCs without onsite infectious disease (ID) support.
The study included inpatient providers at participating sites who prescribe antibiotics.
During 2021, an ID physician met virtually 3 times per week with the stewardship pharmacist at each participating VAMC to review patients on antibiotics in acute-care units and LTC units. Real-time feedback on prescribing antibiotics was given to providers. Additional implementation strategies included stakeholder engagement, education, and quality monitoring.
The reach–effectiveness–adoption–implementation–maintenance (RE-AIM) framework was used for program evaluation. The primary outcome of effectiveness was antibiotic days of therapy (DOT) per 1,000 days present aggregated across all 3 sites. An interrupted time-series analysis was performed to compare this rate during the intervention and baseline periods. Electronic surveys, periodic reflections, and semistructured interviews were used to assess other RE-AIM outcomes.
The telehealth program reviewed 502 unique patients and made 681 recommendations to 24 providers; 77% of recommendations were accepted. After program initiation, antibiotic DOT immediately decreased in the LTC units (−30%; P < .01) without a significant immediate change in the acute-care units (+16%; P = .22); thereafter DOT remained stable in both settings. Providers generally appreciated feedback and collaborative discussions.
The implementation of our telehealth program was associated with reductions in antibiotic use in the LTC units but not in the smaller acute-care units. Overall, providers perceived the intervention as acceptable. Wider implementation of telehealth-supported stewardship activities may achieve reductions in antibiotic use.
Contaminated surfaces in healthcare settings contribute to the transmission of nosocomial pathogens. Adequate environmental cleaning is important for preventing the transmission of important pathogens and reducing healthcare-associated infections. However, effective cleaning practices vary considerably. We examined environmental management services (EMS) staff experiences and perceptions surrounding environmental cleaning to describe perceived challenges and ideas to promote an effective environmental services program.
Frontline EMS staff.
From January to June 2019, we conducted individual semistructured interviews with key stakeholders (ie, EMS staff) at 3 facilities within the Veterans’ Affairs Healthcare System. We used the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) framework (ie, people, environment, organization, tasks, tools) to guide this study. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for thematic content.
In total, 13 EMS staff and supervisors were interviewed. A predominant theme that emerged were the challenges EMS staff saw as hindering their ability to be effective at their jobs. EMS staff interviewed felt they understand their job requirements and are dedicated to their work; however, they described challenges related to feeling undervalued and staffing issues.
EMS staff play a critical role in infection prevention in healthcare settings. However, some do not believe their role is recognized or valued by the larger healthcare team and leadership. EMS staff provided ideas for improving feelings of value and job satisfaction, including higher pay, opportunities for certifications and advancement, as well as collaboration or integration with the larger healthcare team. Healthcare organizations should focus on utilizing these suggestions to improve the EMS work climate.
To investigate factors that influence antibiotic prescribing decisions, we interviewed 49 antibiotic stewardship champions and stakeholders across 15 hospitals. We conducted thematic analysis and subcoding of decisional factors. We identified 31 factors that influence antibiotic prescribing decisions. These factors may help stewardship programs identify educational targets and design more effective interventions.
We evaluated barriers and facilitators to patient adherence with a bundled intervention including chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) bathing and decolonizing Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriers in a real-world setting. Survey data identified 85.5% adherence with home use of CHG as directed and 52.9% adherence with home use of mupirocin as directed.
Background: Environmental cleaning is important in the interruption of pathogen transmission and subsequent infection. Although recent initiatives have targeted cleaning of high-touch surfaces and incorporated audit-and-feedback monitoring of cleaning practices, practice variations exist and compliance is still reportedly low. Evaluation of human factors influencing variations in cleaning practices can be valuable in developing interventions, leading to standardized practices and improved compliance. We conducted a work system analysis using a human-factors engineering framework [the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) model] to identify barriers and facilitators to current environmental cleaning practices within Veterans’ Affairs hospitals. Methods: We conducted semistructured interviews with key stakeholders (ie, environmental staff, nursing, and infection preventionists) at 3 VA facilities across acute-care and long-term care settings. Interviews were conducted among 18 healthcare workers, audio recorded, and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were analyzed for thematic content within the SEIPS constructs (ie, person, environment, organization, tasks, and tools). Results: Within the SEIPS domain ‘person,’ we found that many environment service (EVS) staff were veterans and were highly motivated to serve fellow veterans, especially to prevent them from acquiring infections. However, the hiring of service members as EVS staff comes with significant hurdles that affect staffing. Within the domain of ‘environment’, EVS staff reported rooms that were either occupied by the patient or were multibed, were more difficult to clean. Conversely, they reported that it was easier to clean in settings where the patient was more likely to be out of bed (eg, long-term care residents). Patient flow and/or movement greatly influenced workload within the ‘organizational’ domain. Workload also changed by patient population and setting (eg, the longer the stay or more critical the patient), increased their workload. EVS staff felt that staffing consistency and experience improved cleaning practices. Within the ‘task’ domain, EVS staff were motivated for cleaning high-touch surfaces; however, knowledge of these surfaces varied. Finally, within the ‘tool’ domain, most EVS staff described having effective cleaning products; however, sometimes in limited supply. Most sites reported some form of monitoring of their cleaning process; however, there was variation in type and frequency. Conclusions: Human-factors analysis identified barriers to and facilitators of cleaning compliance. Incorporating environmental cleaning practices that address barriers and facilitators identified may facilitate standardized cleaning of environmental surfaces. Standardized procedures for cleaning multibed rooms and environmental surfaces surrounding occupied beds may improve cleaning compliance. Future research should evaluate standardized cleaning procedures or bundles that incorporate these best practices and steps to overcoming barriers and pilot feasibility.
To assess the effectiveness and acceptability of antimicrobial stewardship-focused implementation strategies on inpatient fluoroquinolones.
Stewardship champions at 15 hospitals were surveyed regarding the use and acceptability of strategies to improve fluoroquinolone prescribing. Antibiotic days of therapy (DOT) per 1,000 days present (DP) for sites with and without prospective audit and feedback (PAF) and/or prior approval were compared.
Among all of the sites, 60% had PAF or prior approval implemented for fluoroquinolones. Compared to sites using neither strategy (64.2 ± 34.4 DOT/DP), fluoroquinolone prescribing rates were lower for sites that employed PAF and/or prior approval (35.5 ± 9.8; P = .03) and decreased from 2017 to 2018 (P < .001). This decrease occurred without an increase in advanced-generation cephalosporins. Total antibiotic rates were 13% lower for sites with PAF and/or prior approval, but this difference did not reach statistical significance (P = .20). Sites reporting that PAF and/or prior approval were “completely” accepted had lower fluoroquinolone rates than sites where it was “moderately” accepted (34.2 ± 5.7 vs 48.7 ± 4.5; P < .01). Sites reported that clinical pathways and/or local guidelines (93%), prior approval (93%), and order forms (80%) “would” or “may” be effective in improving fluoroquinolone use. Although most sites (73%) indicated that requiring infectious disease consults would or may be effective in improving fluoroquinolones, 87% perceived implementation to be difficult.
PAF and prior approval implementation strategies focused on fluoroquinolones were associated with significantly lower fluoroquinolone prescribing rates and nonsignificant decreases in total antibiotic use, suggesting limited evidence for class substitution. The association of acceptability of strategies with lower rates highlights the importance of culture. These results may indicate increased acceptability of implementation strategies and/or sensitivity to FDA warnings.
To develop a fully automated algorithm using data from the Veterans’ Affairs (VA) electrical medical record (EMR) to identify deep-incisional surgical site infections (SSIs) after cardiac surgeries and total joint arthroplasties (TJAs) to be used for research studies.
Retrospective cohort study.
This study was conducted in 11 VA hospitals.
Patients who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting or valve replacement between January 1, 2010, and March 31, 2018 (cardiac cohort) and patients who underwent total hip arthroplasty or total knee arthroplasty between January 1, 2007, and March 31, 2018 (TJA cohort).
Relevant clinical information and administrative code data were extracted from the EMR. The outcomes of interest were mediastinitis, endocarditis, or deep-incisional or organ-space SSI within 30 days after surgery. Multiple logistic regression analysis with a repeated regular bootstrap procedure was used to select variables and to assign points in the models. Sensitivities, specificities, positive predictive values (PPVs) and negative predictive values were calculated with comparison to outcomes collected by the Veterans’ Affairs Surgical Quality Improvement Program (VASQIP).
Overall, 49 (0.5%) of the 13,341 cardiac surgeries were classified as mediastinitis or endocarditis, and 83 (0.6%) of the 12,992 TJAs were classified as deep-incisional or organ-space SSIs. With at least 60% sensitivity, the PPVs of the SSI detection algorithms after cardiac surgeries and TJAs were 52.5% and 62.0%, respectively.
Considering the low prevalence rate of SSIs, our algorithms were successful in identifying a majority of patients with a true SSI while simultaneously reducing false-positive cases. As a next step, validation of these algorithms in different hospital systems with EMR will be needed.
Background: Studies of interventions to decrease rates of surgical site infections (SSIs) must include thousands of patients to be statistically powered to demonstrate a significant reduction. Therefore, it is important to develop methodology to extract data available in the electronic medical record (EMR) to accurately measure SSI rates. Prior studies have created tools that optimize sensitivity to prioritize chart review for infection control purposes. However, for research studies, positive predictive value (PPV) with reasonable sensitivity is preferred to limit the impact of false-positive results on the assessment of intervention effectiveness. Using information from the prior tools, we aimed to determine whether an algorithm using data available in the Veterans Affairs (VA) EMR could accurately and efficiently identify deep incisional or organ-space SSIs found in the VA Surgical Quality Improvement Program (VASQIP) data set for cardiac and orthopedic surgery patients. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients who underwent cardiac surgery or total joint arthroplasty (TJA) at 11 VA hospitals between January 1, 2007, and April 30, 2017. We used EMR data that were recorded in the 30 days after surgery on inflammatory markers; microbiology; antibiotics prescribed after surgery; International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and current procedural terminology (CPT) codes for reoperation for an infection related purpose; and ICD codes for mediastinitis, prosthetic joint infection, and other SSIs. These metrics were used in an algorithm to determine whether a patient had a deep or organ-space SSI. Sensitivity, specificity, PPV and negative predictive values (NPV) were calculated for accuracy of the algorithm through comparison with 30-day SSI outcomes collected by nurse chart review in the VASQIP data set. Results: Among the 11 VA hospitals, there were 18,224 cardiac surgeries and 16,592 TJA during the study period. Of these, 20,043 were evaluated by VASQIP nurses and were included in our final cohort. Of the 8,803 cardiac surgeries included, manual review identified 44 (0.50%) mediastinitis cases. Of the 11,240 TJAs, manual review identified 71 (0.63%) deep or organ-space SSIs. Our algorithm identified 32 of the mediastinitis cases (73%) and 58 of the deep or organ-space SSI cases (82%). Sensitivity, specificity, PPV, and NPV are shown in Table 1. Of the patients that our algorithm identified as having a deep or organ-space SSI, only 21% (PPV) actually had an SSI after cardiac surgery or TJA. Conclusions: Use of the algorithm can identify most complex SSIs (73%–82%), but other data are necessary to separate false-positive from true-positive cases and to improve the efficiency of case detection to support research questions.
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