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From Research to Nationwide Implementation: The Impact of AHRQ’s HAI Prevention Program

Battles, James B. PhD*; Farr, Stacy L. PhD, MPH; Weinberg, Daniel A. MBA, PhD

doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000037
Agency Perspective

Introduction: The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ’s) Patient Safety Program is responsive to AHRQ’s mission of quality improvement in healthcare. As part of this program, AHRQ has invested in projects to prevent healthcare–associated infections (HAIs), and funding has increased significantly over the last decade. AHRQ-funded projects have focused on generating new knowledge and promoting the nationwide implementation of proven HAI prevention measures in diverse healthcare settings.

Objectives: To provide insight to AHRQ’s HAI prevention strategies by: first, discussing the context and structure of AHRQ’s HAI research portfolio and funding decisions; secondly, describing the process of prevention practice implementation and lessons learned; and third, explaining the outcomes and national impact of the AHRQ program.

Results and Conclusions: In the early 2000s, AHRQ identified HAIs as an important and preventable public health threat and built their HAI-prevention portfolio based on National Action Plan priorities, available resources, advice from experts, and the state of science. This paper describes major contributions that have emerged from AHRQ-funded HAI projects. The projects examined, many of which focus on implementation of HAI prevention practices, yield useful lessons learned for future implementation and research endeavors and show significant impact of AHRQ’s program in reducing HAIs.

*Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (CQulPS), The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Rockville

IMPAQ International LLC, Columbia, MD

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors, and no official endorsement by the US Department of Health and Human Services or Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is intended, or should be inferred.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: James Battles, PhD, Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (CQulPS), The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 500 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 20850. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.