BACKGROUND: Healthcare-associated infections are a major source of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Infection Preventionists (IPs) are healthcare workers tasked at overseeing the prevention and control of these infections, but they may have difficulties obtaining up-to-date information, primarily in rural states. The objective of this study was to evaluate the importance of public health involvement on the knowledge-sharing network of IPs in a rural state. FINDINGS: A total of 95 attendees completed our survey. The addition of public health professionals increased the density of the network, reduced the number of separate components of the network, and reduced the number of key players needed to contact nearly all of the other network members. All network metrics were higher for public health professionals than for IPs without public health involvement. CONCLUSIONS: The addition of public health professionals involved in healthcare infection prevention activities augmented the knowledge sharing potential of the IPs in Iowa. Rural states without public health involvement in healthcare-associated infection (HAI) prevention efforts should consider the potential benefits of adding these personnel to the public health workforce to help facilitate communication of HAI-related information.
Wiemken, T., Polgreen, P. M., McKinney, W. P., Ramirez, J., Just, E., & Carrico, R. (2012). Knowledge sharing among healthcare infection preventionists: The impact of public health professionals in a rural state. BMC Research Notes, 5. https://doi.org/10.1186/1756-0500-5-387