Statement by APIC in response to the “National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care (National Quality Strategy)”

Washington, DC, March 21, 2011 – APIC supports the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS’s) development of the National Quality Strategy aimed at improving the quality of healthcare.

The top priority advanced by the National Quality Strategy is making healthcare safer by reducing harm caused in the delivery of care. APIC shares this goal and unyielding focus on the prevention of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). As the Strategy points out, nearly one in every 20 hospitalized patients in the U.S. each year acquires an HAI. Since 1972, APIC has provided thought leadership on infection prevention to drive attention to the critical need to protect patients from HAIs and is an authority in the application of evidence-based infection control measures.

APIC was pleased to provide stakeholder input to the Healthcare Associated Infection Prevention Initiative/HAI Action Plan which provided guidance for the HAI components of the National Quality Strategy. We believe that every healthcare institution should be working toward HAI elimination. While we are encouraged by recent reports of HAI reductions in central line-associated bloodstream infections in intensive care units, continued progress is contingent upon sustained focus and resources.

APIC is pleased that the National Quality Strategy utilizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) to illustrate the types of measures useful in monitoring progress toward the goal of eliminating HAIs. The NHSN is based on epidemiologically sound, surveillance data and presents a national standard for reporting HAIs that accurately portrays infection rates across different geographic regions and categories of risk.

Looking ahead, APIC welcomes the opportunity to provide input to federal agencies and other stakeholders in the ongoing development and refinement of specific goals, plans, benchmarks and standardized quality metrics for the National Quality Strategy. Prevention of HAIs relates to all six priorities outlined in the document. We believe that implementation of this Strategy will lead to improved outcomes for patients and pledge our full support for these initiatives.

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology’s (APIC’s) mission is to improve health and patient safety by reducing risks of infection and other adverse outcomes. 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 around the globe. APIC advances its mission through education, research, collaboration, practice guidance, public policy and credentialing. Visit APIC online at www.apic.org. For consumer-related information, visit www.preventinfection.org.