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BMJ Quality & Safety






Background: Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are preventable. Globally, laws aimed at reducing HAIs have been implemented. In the USA, these laws are at the federal and state levels. It is not known whether the state interventions are more effective than the federal incentives alone.

Objective: The aims of this study were to explore the impact federal and state HAI laws have on state departments of health and hospital stakeholders in the USA and to explore similarities and differences in perceptions across states.

Methods: A qualitative study was conducted. In 2012, we conducted semistructured interviews with key stakeholders from states with and without state-level laws to gain multiple perspectives. Interviews were transcribed and open coding was conducted. Data were analysed using content analysis and collected until theoretical saturation was achieved.

Results: Ninety interviews were conducted with stakeholders from 12 states (6 states with laws and 6 states without laws). We found an increase in state-level collaboration. The publicly reported data helped hospitals benchmark and focus leaders on HAI prevention. There were concerns about the publicly reported data (eg, lack of validation and timeliness). Resource needs were also identified. No major differences were expressed by interviewees from states with and without laws.

Conclusions: While we could not tease out the impact of specific interventions, increased collaboration between departments of health and their partners is occurring. Harmonisation of HAI definitions and reporting between state and federal laws would minimise reporting burden. Continued monitoring of the progress of HAI prevention is needed.


This is an Accepted Author Manuscript obtained from PMC. The publisher's final edited version of this article is available at BMJ Quality & Safety.