Kathleen Hartless, Infection Preventionist from the VA North Texas Health Care

System(VANTHCS), provided an engaging presentation on Clinical Practice Guidelines: Blueprint for Action in which she discussed reasons for using clinical practice guidelines, the methods used to select recommendations for clinical practice guidelines, and a success story when the Centers For Disease Prevention and Control clinical practice guidelines were used by a team of infection preventionists. 

During Kathleen’s presentation we learned of the consumer, professional, and political pressures demanding the application of clinical practice guidelines for preventing infections.  She explained that clinical practice guidelines consolidate evidence into a useful, systematic, and reliable system for performance improvement efforts and projects. 

The presentation differentiated between what recommendations constitute clinical practice guidelines and those that fall short of providing valid guidance for implementing infection prevention.   Kathleen related clinical practice guidelines to the Performance Improvement domain of the APIC Competency Model.   The VANTHCS model for infection prevention focuses on the constructs of host factors, microorganism patterns, environment, and clinical practices.  A checklist used to assess staff compliance was developed based on the CDC clinical practice guidelines specific to prevention of urinary tract, blood stream, environmentally transmitted, and hand hygiene transmitted infections.  The processes used by the VANTHCS Infection Preventionists  for assessing and consulting with healthcare providers based on the clinical practice guidelines was described and data measuring success of using the consulting process was presented.  Following the initiation of the consulting process, there has been a statistically significant reduction in hospital acquired microorganisms, elimination of dialysis blood stream infections, and a ten percent reduction in surgical site infections following colon surgeries. 

Kathleen concluded her excellent presentation by addressing methods that infection preventionists can contribute to improvement of clinical practice guidelines and their application.

To get a detailed run-down of what is going on with our committees and SIGS, please visit May General Meeting Minutes.