The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) unveiled a plan that establishes a set of five-year national prevention targets to reduce and possibly eliminate health care-associated infections (HAIs). The Action Plan to Prevent Health Care-Associated Infections lists a number of areas in which HAIs can be prevented, such as surgical site infections. The plan also outlines cross-agency efforts to save lives and reduce health care costs through expanded HAI prevention efforts. The plan establishes national goals and outlines key actions for enhancing and coordinating HHS-supported efforts. These include development of national benchmarks prioritized recommended clinical practices, a coordinated research agenda, an integrated information systems strategy and a national messaging plan. The plan also identifies opportunities for collaboration with national, state, tribal and local organizations.
HHS intends to update the plan in response to public input and new recommendations for infection prevention. The press release can be found online here. The plan, and instructions for submitting comments on the plan, can be found online at http://www.hhs.gov/ophs. HHS plans to hold meetings in the spring of 2009 to provide opportunities for public comment on improving and strengthening the plan and sharing opportunities for organizations to become engaged with implementing components of the plan that are consistent with their organizations’ missions. The dates for these meetings will be posted on the HHS Office of Public Health and Science Web site at http://www.hhs.gov/ophs.