Guest Post: AHRQ Report Calls for Environmental Cleaning Research

This guest post was written by Alexandra McGhie, Megan Campbell and Nick Graves to highlight a new AHRQ Report as it relates to an NHMRC (Australia) Partnership Grant led by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) & The Wesley-St. Andrew’s Research Institute (WSARI) called REACH.

New report calls for further research examining the impact of environmental cleaning interventions on Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI) rates

A new report by the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) calls for further studies on emerging strategies for environmental cleaning and their impact on healthcare associated infection rates.

The report, Environmental Cleaning for the Prevention of Healthcare-Associated Infections (Technical Brief Number 22) details a systematic review of 80 studies that aimed to  determine the evidence base and comparative effectiveness of environmental cleaning methods and monitoring strategies of frequent touch surfaces in hospital rooms. The report concluded there was a lack of studies directly comparing cleaning methods and monitoring strategies, and calls upon the research community to undertake further research that:

·       Examines and compares emerging strategies (including ATP and UV light technologies).
·       Includes patient colonisation and infection rates as outcome measures.
·       Identifies surfaces in hospital rooms posing the greatest risk of pathogen transmission.
·       Examines factors that affect the real-world implementation of cleaning interventions (organizational culture, training, feedback).

An obvious omission to the report is that the value for money of any change to practice is not considered. Current health spending growth will not continue as it has. And infection prevention communities must think about the returns per dollar spent on new programmes.

Both effectiveness and cost-effectiveness evidence for a new ‘bundle’ approach to hospital cleaning will be generated by the REACH project. The effect on the transmission of healthcare associated infections (HAIs) in eleven Australian hospitals will be estimated and the value for money assessed.
The randomised controlled trial funded by the an NHMRC Partnership grant (GNT1076006) is led by QUT and The Wesley-St. Andrew’s Research Institute (WSARI) in conjunction with industry, policy and professional partners.

For more information about the REACH Project, please visit:

The post originally appeared on the AusHSI Blog.


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