Guidance on Public Reporting of Healthcare-Associated Infections: Recommendations of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee

      Since 2002, 4 states have enacted legislation that requires health care organizations to publicly disclose health care–associated infection (HAI) rates. Similar legislative efforts are underway in several other states. Advocates of mandatory public reporting of HAIs believe that making such information publicly available will enable consumers to make more informed choices about their health care and improve overall health care quality by reducing HAIs. Further, they believe that patients have a right to know this information. However, others have expressed concern that the reliability of public reporting systems may be compromised by institutional variability in the definitions used for HAIs, or in the methods and resources used to identify HAIs. Presently, there is insufficient evidence on the merits and limitations of an HAI public reporting system. Therefore, the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) has not recommended for or against mandatory public reporting of HAI rates. However, HICPAC has developed this guidance document based on established principles for public health and HAI reporting systems. This document is intended to assist policymakers, program planners, consumer advocacy organizations, and others tasked with designing and implementing public reporting systems for HAIs. The document provides a framework for legislators, but does not provide model legislation. HICPAC recommends that persons who design and implement such systems 1) use established public health surveillance methods when designing and implementing mandatory HAI reporting systems; 2) create multidisciplinary advisory panels, including persons with expertise in the prevention and control of HAIs, to monitor the planning and oversight of HAI public reporting systems; 3) choose appropriate process and outcome measures based on facility type and phase in measures to allow time for facilities to adapt and to permit ongoing evaluation of data validity; and 4) provide regular and confidential feedback of performance data to healthcare providers. Specifically, HICPAC recommends that states establishing public reporting systems for HAIs select one or more of the following process or outcome measures as appropriate for hospitals or long-term care facilities in their jurisdictions: 1) central-line insertion practices; 2) surgical antimicrobial prophylaxis; 3) influenza vaccination coverage among patients and healthcare personnel; 4) central line-associated bloodstream infections; and 5) surgical site infections following selected operations. HICPAC will update these recommendations as more research and experience become available.
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