Ann Scheck McAlearney, ScD, MS, professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Family Medicine at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, received a $1.89 million award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The grant, “Searching for Management Approaches to Reduce HAI Transmission (SMART),” explores how to provide hospitals with the evidence-based tools they need to support healthcare-associated infection (HAI) reduction and prevention efforts. Funding for the study will extend through March 2022.
HAIs impact the lives of patients through prolonged hospitalization, morbidity and death, all of which are often accompanied by astronomical costs. Prolonged hospitalization is also notorious for increasing the chance of infection. This study is designed to identify the organizational and structural practices that are associated with better performance at reducing and preventing the risk of infection in both ICUs and medical/surgical units.
McAlearney and her team aim to create a generalizable management practice toolkit that can then be leveraged in the improvement of other HAI outcomes. This study will examine the relationships between the way we manage care (the contextual factor, among others) in the care environment to improve the effectiveness of evidence-based clinical strategies that reduce infections.
The outcome of the project will enable the Ohio State team to develop a generalizable management practice toolkit—the SMART Toolkit∑—for hospitals and health systems to use nationwide. Using this toolkit, hospitals will be able to benchmark their patient safety efforts and find guidelines about how to improve HAI outcomes. The toolkit will include an online survey platform, visualization and dashboarding, and an implementation training program.
“While many HAIs are considered preventable, hospitals currently lack guidance about how to use culture and management strategies to address this issue. Results of our study will provide both evidence and practical tools to proactively support clinical teams in their efforts to reduce and prevent HAIs,” says McAlearney.
The co-investigators on the grant are Timothy Huerta, PhD, from the Departments of Family Medicine and Biomedical Informatics; Jennifer Hefner, PhD and Cynthia Sieck, PhD, from the Department of Family Medicine; Courtney Hebert, MD, from the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine and the Department of Biomedical Informatics; and Erinn Hade, PhD, from the Center for Biostatistics in the Department of Biomedical Informatics.