Background: Infection Preventionists (IPs) pay an important role in preventing Health Care-Associated Infections but little is known about how they actually spend their time. With responsibilities as varied as mandatory reporting, environment of care rounding, outbreak investigation, and hand hygiene promotion, we wanted to better understand how IPs divided their work time amongst 10 key areas.
Methods: All Six full-time IPs working at a 700 bed Academic medical center were asked to track their time using the ATracker PRO app (WonderApps AB, iOS App Store) from January 1st, 2017 to April 30, 2017. All work time was recorded in individually-designated categories which were then aggregated into 10 key activities. Data from each IP were uploaded to leadership weekly. While only IP time is included in this summary, the program also relies on an infection control tech, a manager of infection control, a director of infection control, administrative assistant, and three part-time physician epidemiologists. Data collection is ongoing for this project.
Results: Data was collected for 3270 hours accounting for 90.2% of the expected work time (3624 hrs) during the four-month period. Proportional time spent on the 10 key areas is shown in figure 1. The top 3 activities ranked by time spent included Administrative (24%, 772 hrs), Surveillance (17%, 566 hrs) and Communication/External Meetings (12%, 391 hrs). Performance Improvement (PI) activities (8%, 263hrs ) and Education/Teaching (4%, 136 hrs) accounted for 12% of IP time in this data set.
Conclusion: IP time is a valuable resource in preventing HAIs yet only 12% is spent on activities directly impacting front line providers (performance improvement and education/teaching). Despite employing an infection control tech to help optimize IP time, surveillance and reporting activities still required 17% of IP work time. In an understaffed program, required activities like surveillance and reporting could easily account for an even larger proportion of IP work time. More study is needed to better understand which activities are most beneficial and which have limited impact on patient outcomes.
E. Landon, None
Findings in the abstracts are embargoed until 12:01 a.m. PDT, Wednesday Oct. 4th with the exception of research findings presented at the IDWeek press conferences.