Certification in Infection Prevention and Control (CIC®) Associated with Lower MRSA Infection Rates

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According to a new study, hospitals have significantly lower rates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infections (BSI) when they have an infection prevention and control program led by a director who is board certified in infection prevention and control.

According to a new study published in the March issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), hospitals have significantly lower rates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infections (BSI) when they have an infection prevention and control program led by a director who is board certified in infection prevention and control (CIC®), a credentialing program administered by the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (CBIC).

A team of researchers from the Columbia University School of Nursing surveyed infection prevention and control departments of 203 acute care hospitals in California to determine if there is an association between structure and practices of their programs, and frequency of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. MRSA bloodstream infection data for 91 of these hospitals were analyzed to see if there were factors that were associated with frequency of this infection. Presence of a board certified director and participation in a multi-facility performance improvement project were associated with significantly lower MRSA BSI rates. This is one of the first studies that have demonstrated an association between specific infrastructure elements, patient care practices, and rates of healthcare-associated infections. MRSA is a type of Staphylococcal bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics and can cause serious infections.

Ninety-seven percent of hospitals in the survey reported some type of screening policy for multidrug-resistant organisms – primarily MRSA – upon patient admission. The most commonly targeted populations were transfers from nursing homes (77.8%), readmissions within 30 days (75.6%), ICU patients (72.8%), and dialysis patients (63.3%). By contrast, few hospitals reported the use of universal and targeted screening for two other multidrug-resistant organisms: vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) and Clostridium difficile (C. difficile). One major reason for the focus on MRSA infection was existing legislative requirements in California for these screening programs. The authors contend that focusing attention on one specific pathogen for patient admissions may limit the ability to adequately identify and address others such as VRE and C. difficile.

“The results of the research conducted by the authors of this article reflect the importance of certification in infection prevention and control on patient safety,” said Barbara Russell, RN, BSHA, MPH, CIC. “This data will serve as an important benchmark for the adherence to evidence-based prevention practices that infection prevention and control professionals should seek in order to ensure quality care that the public expects, demands, and deserves."

ABOUT CBIC
The Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. was founded in 1981 to protect the public by raising the standard of the infection prevention and control profession through the development, administration and promotion of an accredited certification process. The CIC® certification is held by over 4,900 infection prevention and control professionals working in hospitals, long-term care facilities, ambulatory care centers, and other healthcare settings throughout the world. CBIC is a voluntary autonomous multidisciplinary board that provides direction for and administers the certification process for professionals in infection control and applied epidemiology. CBIC is independent and separate from any other infection control-related organization or association. For more information, please visit http://www.cbic.org.

Full text of the article is available to journalists upon request; contact Liz Garman, APIC, 202-454-2604, egarman(at)apic(dot)org to obtain copies.

ABOUT AJIC: AMERICAN JOURNAL OF INFECTION CONTROL
AJIC: American Journal of Infection Control (http://www.ajicjournal.org) covers key topics and issues in infection control and epidemiology. Infection preventionists, including physicians, nurses, and epidemiologists, rely on AJIC for peer-reviewed articles covering clinical topics as well as original research. As the official publication of APIC - the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology - AJIC is the foremost resource on infection control, epidemiology, infectious diseases, quality management, occupational health, and disease prevention. AJIC also publishes infection control guidelines from APIC and the CDC. Published by Elsevier, AJIC is included in MEDLINE and CINAHL.

ABOUT APIC
APIC’s mission is to create a safer world through prevention of infection. The association’s more than 14,000 members direct infection prevention programs that save lives and improve the bottom line for hospitals and other healthcare facilities. APIC advances its mission through patient safety, implementation science, competencies and certification, advocacy, and data standardization. Follow APIC on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apic.

NOTES FOR EDITORS
“Certification in infection control matters: Impact of infection control department characteristics and policies on rates of multidrug-resistant infections,” by Monika Pogorzelska, Patricia W. Stone, and Elaine L. Larson, appears in the American Journal of Infection Control, Volume 40, Issue 2 (March 2012).

Authors:
Monika Pogorzelska, PhD, MPH (Corresponding Author)
Columbia University School of Nursing
Mailman School of Public Health
New York, New York, USA

Patricia W. Stone, PhD, RN, FAAN
Columbia University School of Nursing
New York, New York, USA

Elaine L. Larson, RN, PhD, FAAN, CIC
Columbia University School of Nursing
Mailman School of Public Health
New York, New York, USA

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