How to Use the Tools and FAQs

How do I get started?

You can start by reviewing the tools library, or downloading the complete set. Feedback from the pilot can be found here, and data collection and presentation ideas can be found here. If you’re the infection preventionist at your facility, it might work best to recruit a department to partner with piloting the program and share successes and lessons learned more broadly throughout your organization.

How much does it cost to use these?

All content developed during this project are available at no cost or charge-now or at any time in the future.

How often should I do assessments?

This is up to the user/organization. In theory, there are four different stages in assessing infection prevention practice.

Establishing a baseline. Here the users are trying to establish how their current performance measures up to industry standards/expectations. The vast majority of the content in these cards/assessments is fundamental; that is, you should expect a level of performance at or very near 100%. Depending on patient/department volume, you may want to collect observations over several days or weeks to establish a baseline.

Maintaining performance. Once you are satisfied with the level of achievement, you can use the cards/assessments for a particular area on a rotational/periodic basis. This is done to ensure continued vigilance and detect any regressions before they get out of hand. Depending on the number of cards and patient/department volume you can rotate to conducting an assessment every few days.

Performance improvement. If either the baseline assessment or following targeted/risk-based monitoring the department finds that its performance is below expectations, a performance improvement (PI) program should be implemented. The nature of such PI programs can be varied between and even within organizations and are rooted in the organization’s culture, but ongoing, increased measurement (performing assessments) is inherently a part of nearly all PI efforts.

Targeted/Risk-based monitoring. If a particular outcome measure (i.e., healthcare-associated infection) occurs or increases unexpectedly, the users may consider increasing the number of assessments that are pertinent to the outcome measure. For example, if the department experiences an unexpected central line-associated bloodstream infection, the users may wish to pull out the Central Catheter and Hand Hygiene cards and perform an increased number of assessments to ensure that these process measures are securely in place. If after having done so, the performance level is as expected, the user can return to maintaining performance and investigate other causes for the event.

One card/question is not applicable to my unit/department/facility. What do I do?

If a particular card is not applicable at all (e.g., device infection prevention: ventilators in an intensive care unit that doesn’t see or manage ventilator patients), don’t use that card.

If a particular question does not seem to be applicable (e.g., Observation of Area Exterior to Isolation Rooms: “Are gloves available outside of each patient room or treatment area?”) investigate further. In this example, perhaps the facility’s policy is to perform hand hygiene in direct line of sight to the patient, in which case, gloves may not be appropriate if placed outside the patient’s room. In this specific scenario, it may be appropriate to modify the question for internal monitoring purposes to read, “Are gloves available adjacent to hand hygiene stations within direct sight of the patient?” However, in the same scenario, if it is not an organizational policy to perform hand hygiene in direct sight of the patient and the gloves are in the room, perhaps this is an opportunity for improvement. Each question is based on established guidelines or subject matter expert consensus and has been reviewed by the staff at CDC for accuracy.

How do I collect/collate the data? Is there an app for that?

There is a section dedicated to data collection, analysis, and presentation. There is not “an app for that.” In order for these cards/assessments to be as broadly available to all users regardless of resources, technical competency, facility information technology infrastructure, or security concerns, the content was developed to be made available at the rudimentary level. Emphasis was placed on the synthesis, refinement, and pilot testing of content. The above-hyperlinked section has some suggested output models, including spreadsheets as well as recommendations for alternative data collection tools at low or limited costs such as online survey tools that can be used as observation data collection portals. Users are encouraged to apply the approved content to delivery modes most aptly suited for their organization.

My department/facility/patient population is not represented. When will new cards be made available?

The scope of this project had to be limited to meet the specific objectives. Should an opportunity present itself in the future to continue or expand upon this project into additional areas, these additions will be promoted broadly. However, users should not anticipate content enhancement at this time.