Objective: Although urinary tract infection (UTI) is the most common hospital-acquired infection, there is little information about why hospitals use or do not use a range of available preventive practices. We thus conducted a multicenter study to understand better how US hospitals approach the prevention of hospital-acquired UTI.
Methods: This research is part of a larger study employing both quantitative and qualitative methods. The qualitative phase consisted of 38 semistructured phone interviews with key personnel at 14 purposefully sampled US hospitals and 39 in-person interviews at 5 of those 14 hospitals, to identify recurrent and unifying themes that characterize how hospitals have addressed hospital-acquired UTI.
Results: Four recurrent themes emerged from our study data. First, although preventing hospital-acquired UTI was a low priority for most hospitals, there was substantial recognition of the value of early removal of a urinary catheter for patients. Second, those hospitals that made UTI prevention a high priority also focused on noninfectious complications and had committed advocates, or "champions," who facilitated prevention activities. Third, hospital-specific pilot studies were important in deciding whether or not to use devices such as antimicrobial-impregnated catheters. Finally, external forces, such as public reporting, influenced UTI surveillance and infection prevention activities.
Conclusions: Clinicians and policy makers can use our findings to develop initiatives that, for example, use a champion to promote the removal of unnecessary urinary catheters or exploit external forces, such public reporting, to enhance patient safety.