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Preventing Central Line–Associated Bloodstream Infections: A Qualitative Study of Management Practices

  • Ann Scheck McAlearney (a1) (a2), Jennifer L. Hefner (a1), Julie Robbins (a1), Michael I. Harrison (a3) and Andrew Garman (a4) (a5)...

To identify factors that may explain hospital-level differences in outcomes of programs to prevent central line–associated bloodstream infections.


Extensive qualitative case study comparing higher- and lower-performing hospitals on the basis of reduction in the rate of central line–associated bloodstream infections. In-depth interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed to determine whether emergent themes differentiated higher- from lower-performing hospitals.


Eight US hospitals that had participated in the federally funded On the CUSP—Stop BSI initiative.


One hundred ninety-four interviewees including administrative leaders, clinical leaders, professional staff, and frontline physicians and nurses.


A main theme that differentiated higher- from lower-performing hospitals was a distinctive framing of the goal of “getting to zero” infections. Although all sites reported this goal, at the higher-performing sites the goal was explicitly stated, widely embraced, and aggressively pursued; in contrast, at the lower-performing hospitals the goal was more of an aspiration and not embraced as part of the strategy to prevent infections. Five additional management practices were nearly exclusively present in the higher-performing hospitals: (1) top-level commitment, (2) physician-nurse alignment, (3) systematic education, (4) meaningful use of data, and (5) rewards and recognition. We present these strategies for prevention of healthcare-associated infection as a management “bundle” with corresponding suggestions for implementation.


Some of the variance associated with CLABSI prevention program outcomes may relate to specific management practices. Adding a management practice bundle may provide critical guidance to physicians, clinical managers, and hospital leaders as they work to prevent healthcare-associated infections.

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2015;00(0): 1–7

Corresponding author
Address correspondence to Ann Scheck McAlearney, ScD, MS, Department of Family Medicine, College of Medicine, Ohio State University, 2231 North High Street, 273 Northwood and High, Columbus, Ohio, 43201 (
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Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
  • ISSN: 0899-823X
  • EISSN: 1559-6834
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