How to improve hospital admission screening for patients at risk of multidrug-resistant organism carriage: a before-and-after interventional study and cost-effectiveness analysis

BMJ Open Qual. 2022 Apr;11(2):e001699. doi: 10.1136/bmjoq-2021-001699.


Background: Infection prevention and control (IPC) is a prioritised task for healthcare workers in emergency department (ED). Here, we examined compliance with admission screening (AS) and additional precautions (AP) measures for patients at risk of infection with multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) by using a two-stage, multifaceted educational intervention, also comparing the cost of a developed automated indicator for AS and AP compliance and clinical audits to sustain observed findings.

Methods: In the first stage, staff in the ED of the University Hospitals of Geneva, Switzerland, were briefed on IPC measures (AS and AP). A cross-sectional survey was then conducted to assess barriers to IPC measures. In the second stage, healthcare workers underwent training sessions, and an electronic patient record 'order-set' including AS and AP compliance indicators was designed. We compared the cost-benefit of the audits and the automated indicators for AS and AP compliance.

Results: Compliance significantly improved after training, from 36.2% (95% CI 23.6% to 48.8%) to 78.8% (95% CI 67.1% to 90.3%) for AS (n=100, p=0.0050) and from 50.2% (95% CI 45.3% to 55.1%) to 68.5% (95% CI 60.1% to 76.9%) for AP (n=125, p=0.0092). Healthcare workers recognised MDRO screening as an ED task (70.2%), with greater acknowledgment of risk factors at AS considered an ED duty. The monthly cost was higher for clinical audits than the automated indicator, with a reported yearly cost of US$120 203. The initial cost of developing the automated indicator was US$18 290 and its return on investment US$3.44 per US$1 invested.

Conclusion: Training ED staff increased compliance with IPC measures when accompanied by team discussions for optimal effectiveness. An automated indicator of compliance is cheaper and closer to real-time than a clinical audit.

Keywords: Cost-effectiveness; Education; Infection control; Quality improvement; Quality measurement.

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Cross Infection* / prevention & control
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial*
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans