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Straining to be tactful but clearly frustrated that patient safety advocates have largely ignored them, the nation’s leading infection control organizations have sent an icy letter to one of the nation’s leading safety officials.
The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) sent a jointly signed letter to John M. Eisenberg, MD, director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in Washington, DC.
At issue was a recently published AHRQ report, Making Health Care Safer: A Critical Analysis of Patient Safety Practices, which was compiled by the Evidence-Based Practice Center of the University of California, San Francisco/Stanford University.
Left out of the loop
APIC and SHEA expressed disappointment that they were not consulted in the creation of the report, emphasizing that "infection prevention and control is an invaluable and integral component of the patient-safety effort. Such an omission would be comparable to APIC or SHEA’s undertaking the development of patient care guidelines and not soliciting input from direct care providers."
The report’s emphasis on highlighting areas for future improvement may be misinterpreted as indicating that many common-sense or proven practices are not needed, SHEA and APIC argued.
The letter cites "evidence-based and tested patient safety practices" that have been developed by APIC, SHEA, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those include the myriad guidelines developed by the three groups on prevention of infection, surveillance, the need for standardized definitions, active case finding, and appropriate risk-adjusted rate calculations for rate comparisons.
"As clinicians who are proven leaders in preventing infections, we believe that the recommendations in their current form are not adequate for effectively protecting our patients, let alone enacting legislation and regulation," the letter states.
"While our sentiments are strong, our intent is not to criticize, but rather to assist in this important effort. APIC and SHEA strongly appeal to AHRQ to address these concerns either through a revision of this document or the creation of a follow-up document."
(Editor’s note: The entire letter has been posted at the SHEA web site at .)