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Successful strategies for high participation in three regional healthcare surveys: an observational study

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2288-11-176

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This descriptive paper provides methodologies that may have contributed to high participation in a series of administrative, infection control, and microbiology laboratory surveys of all 31 hospitals in a large southern California county. We also report 85% (N = 72) countywide participation in an administrative survey among nursing homes in this same area.Using in-person recruitment, 48% of hospitals and nursing homes were recruited within one quarter, with 75% recruited within three quarters.Potentially useful strategies for successful recruitment included in-person recruitment, partnership with the local public health department, assurance of anonymity when presenting survey results, and provision of staff labor for the completion of detailed survey tables on the rates of healthcare associated pathogens. Data collection assistance was provided for three-fourths of surveys. High compliance quantitative regional surveys require substantial recruitment time and study staff support for high participation.Regional and national evaluations of healthcare facilities are increasingly performed to provide local benchmarks for hospital and nursing home quality measures [1-8]. In the United States, many states have or are implementing mandatory reporting requirements for healthcare-associated infections [9].The intent of mandatory reporting is to allow inter-facility comparisons; however, such comparisons require standardized definitions and data collection [5,6,10-13]. Regional surveys, particularly those including both qualitative and quantitative data collection, can help ascertain not only estimates of healthcare-associated infection outcomes, but whether data collection, definitions, and policies are uniform. These studies to evaluate whether the process is consistent across facilities are not commonly undertaken due to the scope of work, expense, limited staffing resources, and uncertain participation. When regional studies are performed, descriptions of the methodology

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