To address the epidemic of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) by promoting better coordination of prevention activities, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) created what is known as the Action Plan. Daniel Weinberg and Elizabeth Gall co-authored an analysis that focused on identifying system capacity issues to better understand the capacity and sustainability of healthcare changes, based on experiences of the Action Plan.
This analysis reviewed and synthesized the results of the researchers' 3-year evaluation of the Action Plan. During this analysis, researchers conducted interviews with government and non-government stakeholders, reviewed program documents and HAI-related literature, and observed meetings and conferences.
Researchers found the key system capacity and sustainability issues occurred around the coordination and alignment among agencies, other Federal initiatives, and within all levels of the healthcare system. Researchers also identified problems within infrastructures for data and accountability, which required more efficient technologies. In addition, how HAI prevention practices were integrated into the cultures of different healthcare settings created capacity and sustainability issues, as did the uncertainty of stakeholder resources and the variability of resource allocation. It is for these reasons that researchers emphasize the importance of enacting improvements across system functions across all levels of the healthcare system. This study showed the lack of connections among system elements, and how this impacted the sustainability and capacity of HAI prevention through the Action Plan.