Major ArticleInfection control consultation in a 150-bed acute care hospital: Making this unobserved and unmeasured critical job function visible
Review articleOpen access

BackgroundOne qualified infection control director, reporting directly to administration, was responsible for the Infection Prevention and Control Program of a 150-bed acute care, non-teaching, for-profit hospital. To observe for potential trending, questions (consultations) and determinations related to infectious processes were documented.ObjectiveTo explore the possibility of measuring the essential although “hidden” function of the infection control consultation (process), which is a role not formerly linked to infection rates (outcomes).MethodsA 7-year retrospective study was conducted of all infection control consultations requiring more than a 5-minute intervention, as part of routine job responsibilities. The XmR Statistical Process Control charts (XmR Charts) and Pearson's Correlation Coefficient were used to analyze the activity of infection control consultations.ResultsFrom January 1, 1998 to December 31, 2004, there were 770 infection control consultations logged for 375.1 hours. Beginning with 2003, the variation in both the number and duration of infection control consultations in the XmR Charts become more standardized and has a smaller moving range between data points. The Pearson's Correlation Coefficient shows statistical significance (P <.05) between the number and duration of consultations.ConclusionsAssessment of infection control consultations at this 150-bed hospital illustrates that this essential component can be measured, and should be formerly tracked to document overall assessment of infection prevention and control interdisciplinary interaction. The consultation process became more efficient over the 7-year study period because, as the number of questions increased, the duration required to achieve closure decreased.

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