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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.
We explored experiences and perceptions surrounding the Self-Stewardship Time-Out Program (SSTOP) intervention across implementation sites to improve antimicrobial use. Semistructured qualitative interviews were conducted with Antibiotic Stewardship physicians and pharmacists, from which 5 key themes emerged. SSTOP may serve to achieve sustainable promotion of antibiotic use improvements.
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.
A survey of Veterans’ Affairs Medical Centers on control of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and carbapenem-producing CRE (CP-CRE) demonstrated that most facilities use VA guidelines but few screen for CRE/CP-CRE colonization regularly or regularly communicate CRE/CP-CRE status at patient transfer. Most respondents were knowledgeable about CRE guidelines but cited lack of adequate resources.
Although most hospitals report very high levels of hand hygiene compliance (HHC), the accuracy of these overtly observed rates is questionable due to the Hawthorne effect and other sources of bias. In the study, we aimed (1) to compare HHC rates estimated using the standard audit method of overt observation by a known observer and a new audit method that employed a rapid (<15 minutes) “secret shopper” method and (2) to pilot test a novel feedback tool.
Quality improvement project using a quasi-experimental stepped-wedge design.
This study was conducted in 5 acute-care hospitals (17 wards, 5 intensive care units) in the Midwestern United States.
Sites recruited a hand hygiene observer from outside the acute-care units to rapidly and covertly observe entry and exit HHC during the study period, October 2016–September 2017. After 3 months of observations, sites received a monthly feedback tool that communicated HHC information from the new audit method.
The absolute difference in HHC estimates between the standard and new audit methods was ~30%. No significant differences in HHC were detected between the baseline and feedback phases (OR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.84–1.01), but the standard audit method had significantly higher estimates than the new audit method (OR, 9.83; 95% CI, 8.82–10.95).
HHC estimates obtained using the new audit method were substantially lower than estimates obtained using the standard audit method, suggesting that the rapid, secret-shopper method is less subject to bias. Providing feedback using HHC from the new audit method did not seem to impact HHC behaviors.
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