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Position Statement Process Helps HAI Programs and Engages a CSTE Member

Posted By Lauren Reeves, Thursday, June 5, 2014
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At the 2013 Annual Conference, CSTE passed position statement 13-ID-02, “Healthcare-associated infections data presentation and reporting standardization.” Although individual states have regulations on how healthcare-associated infection (HAI) data are displayed and shared, position statement author Andrea Alvarez, of the Virginia Department of Health’s HAI program, felt it was important to have a standardized approach and model for HAI data analysis, reporting, and presentation. The position statement highlighted the need for guidelines about the public reporting of HAI data. An HAI data analysis and presentation standardization workgroup was formed in 2013 after the position statement was approved.
After participating in the HAI subcommittee for several years and understanding the importance of data presentation issues in her daily work as an HAI program coordinator, Alvarez felt strongly about pursuing a position statement. “I knew why this position statement was needed, and I had strong support from other HAI subcommittee members and the CSTE staff,” Alvarez said. “The structure of the position statement template and the valuable insights of my colleagues helped the statement come together relatively easily.”
Below are some of the details of the process that Alvarez and other authors go through to submit a position statement.
Position statements document policy issues that affect public health and CSTE members. They can make a general policy statement or call for placing a health condition under standardized surveillance. Any active CSTE member can identify an issue of importance and submit it as a position statement for consideration by the relevant Steering Committee and then the CSTE membership. Templates for different types of position statements help authors write in a consistent format, especially when calling for standardized surveillance.
Many position statement authors begin thinking about, discussing, and writing their position statement well before the deadline, but position statements must be submitted 10 weeks before the June business meeting. After the submission deadline, position statements are posted on the CSTE website so that members can read and consider them before discussions at the Annual Conference. Informal discussion webinars take place several weeks before the conference to provide a forum for discussion—this year they’ll take place on June 10, 12, and 17. Infectious disease position statements are discussed at informal roundtables at the Annual Conference on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.
At the Annual Conference, CSTE members are encouraged to attend formal discussions scheduled by Steering Committee where each position statement is formally presented, discussed by CSTE members, and voted on. Position statements that are approved by the Steering Committees are then brought to the business meeting for final approval. At this meeting, representatives from each state and territory vote on the position statements.
After approval
Approved position statements become CSTE policy and are posted on the position statement archive. The author is responsible for tracking the position statement during the following year and reporting back on its status and impact.
Impact of 13-ID-02 on public health
Per the position statement’s desired actions to be taken, the HAI data analysis and presentation standardization workgroup was formed following the position statement’s approval. It is a multidisciplinary group of CDC and CSTE epidemiologists and HAI coordinators, communications specialists, and representatives from consumer groups. “We’re developing a toolkit to describe best practices and to recommend methods of presenting HAI data analyses,” Alvarez says. The toolkit’s introduction and methods section will provide guidance to HAI coordinators on the structure and content of their state HAI data reports. The toolkit will also contain two report templates (one targeted to healthcare consumers and the other to healthcare professionals that contains more technical information) that demonstrate the use of these best practices and provide several considerations for the display of HAI data. The toolkit aims to improve stakeholders’ capacity to understand and use HAI data and consumers’ ability to make informed choices about their healthcare.
“The position statement created this workgroup, which has had important discussions about ways to analyze and report HAI data. The toolkit we’re putting together will help us in public health, those working in healthcare facilities, and hopefully healthcare consumers as well.” Alvarez says that this outcome of the position statement has “helped me grow as a public health professional by affording me the opportunity to lead a national workgroup in close partnership with Lindsey Weiner, an epidemiologist from CDC. The process has helped me understand CSTE better and has definitely helped me get more out of my participation with CSTE and the HAI subcommittee.”
Andrea Alvarez, MPH is the Healthcare-Associated Infections Program Coordinator at the Virginia Department of Health. Nicole Bryan, MPH is the Associate Research Analyst and the HAI lead at the CSTE National Office.
For more information about position statements, please visit the position statement overview page. Individual CSTE National Office staff can help you with specific questions.

Tags:  HAI  member spotlight  position statement 

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