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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

Are you certifiable? Ok, don't answer that, but CIC makes a difference

With the increasing transparency regarding all things infection prevention, we foresee a roadside billboard with two or three health care professionals standing strong, looking like they are not interested in taking any prisoners. “The Bug Stops Here: Our Board Certified Infection Preventionists make sure all patients are safe at North Side Center,” the billboard proclaims. An endorsement accented in cursive writing on the sign says, “With one certified infection preventionist for every 75 beds, North Side is so safe I recommended it to my mother!” Gary Evans, Editor, Hospital Infection Control & Prevention. OK, technically, I have not discussed this endorsement deal with my mother, but I’m sure I would recommend family care at a place that touted its certified infection preventionists as an asset. It wasn’t always that way, and it fact it is still not that way, but one can almost taste the wine after so years in the vineyard. No longer the hospital’s best-kept secret, the IP will emerge as a marketable strength flashing the academic badge: Certified in Infection Control (CIC). In that regard, hospitals whose infection prevention and control programs are led by a director who is board certified in infection prevention and control have significantly lower rates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infections (BSI) than those that are not led by a certified professional, according to a new study published in the March issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of APIC - the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

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 multifacility performance improvement project were associated with significantly lower MRSA BSI rates. This is one of the first studies that found an association between specific infrastructure elements, patient care practices, and rates of healthcare-associated infections.