CMS data collection rules may detract from infection control

Five hours and eight minutes. That's the amount of a hospital infection preventionist's time that's eaten up by meeting CMS reporting requirements, according to new research.

Feeling burdened by the amount time necessary to comply with CMS regulations, IPs at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset in Somerville, N.J., conducted a study to determine how long it took to review and receive laboratory test reports in their 355-bed community hospital. Using National Healthcare Safety Network time estimates for each infection report, the amount of time needed to properly report the data totaled 118.29 hours per month.

This time commitment leaves little room for infection preventionists to perform tasks like observing practices, making rounds, leading safety drills and fielding patient safety questions, all of which play a critical role in minimizing healthcare associated infections, according to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

"HAI reporting exposes problems, drives improvements and allows for benchmarking against national targets. But without adequate staffing, the burden of reporting takes time away from infection prevention activities that protect patients at the bedside," Sharon L. Parrillo, RN, assistant director of infection prevention at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, said in a statement. "We are fortunate that we have two IPs on staff at our hospital, but many community hospitals have only one staff person dedicated to infection control. This analysis didn't even take into account the time necessary to perform state and local HAI reporting, which many facilities are also required to do."

More articles on infection prevention:

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25 lessons from a patient survey of adverse medical events
Infection control in the US: 2014 year in review  

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