Saturday, March 20, 2010
Grand Hall (Hyatt Regency Atlanta)
Background: We surveyed the membership of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) to gain insight into members' views on healthcare-associated infections (HAI) and to identify obstacles to designing effective interventions. Objective: Survey goals were: 1) to identify gaps in the existing knowledge base and to determine membership research goal priorities; 2) to assess whether members would be willing to participate in a research consortium (either without or with additional funding); and 3) to determine need for training for the next generation of investigators as well as SHEA's view of its role in such training. Methods: The survey was designed by the SHEA Research Committee and was distributed electronically in September 2008. Three electronic reminders were distributed, and a printed copy was mailed at the time of dues renewal. Responses received before February 15, 2009 were included. Issues for consideration by the Research Committee were ranked on a 5-point Likert Scale. Answers 'Important' and 'Very Important' indicated positive responses. Results: The survey response rate was 46%. 61% of respondents were older than 50; 62% had more than 12 years' experience; 80% had doctoral degrees and 72% were from academic or teaching institutions. Issues identified as scientifically important were: setting the scientific agenda for healthcare epidemiology (93%); developing collaborative infrastructure to conduct research (92%); developing funding mechanisms for research (90%); and creating a SHEA Research Consortium (85%). Respondents identified the five most important issues facing healthcare epidemiology as follows: 1) multiply drug resistant Gram-negative rods; 2) antimicrobial stewardship; 3) methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; 4) effective hand hygiene; and 5) Clostridium difficile. Major barriers to the conduct of clinical research in healthcare epidemiology included: 1) inadequate funding for research projects; 2) lack of protected time for research; 3) inadequate number of personnel; 4) inability to obtain grants and contracts; and 5) burdensome human subjects protection process. More than 40% were willing to participate in a research consortium, even if additional funding were not available. Conclusions: These results provide SHEA with a clear roadmap for Society science efforts. SHEA is working collaboratively to establish the infrastructure for a research consortium and study questions have been identified. Attention focused on HAI represents a call to action for the healthcare epidemiology community.