Background: There are many well-established national health care-associated infection surveillance programs (HAISPs). Although validation studies have described data quality, there is little research describing important characteristics of large HAISPs. The aim of this study was to broaden our understanding and identify key characteristics of large HAISPs. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with purposively selected leaders from national and state-based HAISPs. Interview data were analyzed following an interpretive description process. Results: Seven semi-structured interviews were conducted over a 6-month period during 2014-2015. Analysis of the data generated 5 distinct characteristics of large HAISPs: (1) triggers: surveillance was initiated by government or a cooperative of like-minded people, (2) purpose: a clear purpose is needed and determines other surveillance mechanisms, (3) data measures: consistency is more important than accuracy, (4) processes: a balance exists between the volume of data collected and resources, and (5) implementation and maintenance: a central coordinating body is crucial for uniformity and support. Conclusions: National HAISPs are complex and affect a broad range of stakeholders. Although the overall goal of health care-associated infection surveillance is to reduce the incidence of health care-associated infection, there are many crucial factors to be considered in attaining this goal. The findings from this study will assist the development of new HAISPs and could be used as an adjunct to evaluate existing programs.
- Health care-associated infection
- Qualitative approaches