Customers Aid Our Research on Infection Prevention: HealthStream Living Labs

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

This blog post is the first installment in an ongoing series about our Living Labs Program by Richard Galentino, Ed.D., Vice President, Professional Development Pathways & Living Labs, HealthStream.

An Introduction to HealthStream’s Living Labs Program

With over four million healthcare workers in the HealthStream ecosystem, daily we collect data on how folks are performing on routine annual mandatory e-learning modules like Hand Hygiene, resuscitation programs that empower people in a code blue event, annual residency programs that launch nurses into their career, leadership develop programs, etc. Every quiz or activity a healthcare worker takes to brush up on important protocols or learn something new adds to the unique data set in the HealthStream ecosystem.

The Living Labs blog series’ purpose is to shed light on innovations in assessing and developing the healthcare workforce—ultimately improving the quality of healthcare. In addition to highlighting data from unique research programs being conducted by our Living Labs team, we will also be highlighting findings from our HealthStream ecosystem. By understanding healthcare workers’ development across the country’s healthcare ecosystem, we hope that you will be able to take insight back to your professional practice as well as your organization. Together we are building the healthcare teams that will serve us and the next generation.

Topic 1: Testing Reading Comprehension or Knowledge of Infection Prevention & Control

Infection Prevention & Control is important in any healthcare setting—it is reviewed by the Joint Commission and, more importantly, essential to maintaining the safety of our patients. And, we all know that hospital-acquired infections remain a challenge: one in 25 hospital patients acquired at least one healthcare-associated infection in 2014, as reported by the CDC.

One typical way healthcare organizations account for their healthcare teams’ being up to speed with respect to Infection Prevention & Control is by assigning several e-learning modules that address this topic. These modules include recognizable titles like Hand Hygiene and Standard Precautions: Bloodborne Pathogens and Other Potentially Infectious Materials. If you take the e-learning module and pass the post-test, then you are knowledgeable! Or, are you? Maybe you are just good at remembering the answers from the material you just read or on the same material you read the year before. Or, maybe you will only retain the knowledge for a short period of time.

One way to assess how knowledgeable healthcare teams are scoring on Infection Prevention & Control would be to examine the pre-assessment scores in the HealthStream ecosystem for related courses. (Some organizations assign the pre-assessment version of courses to allow their students to test out of content they already know and save time and money). Looking at over 70,000 Hand Hygiene pre-assessments from a random sample of healthcare organizations—less than 50% tested out! Healthcare teams did better on the pre-assessment of Standard Precautions: Bloodborne Pathogens; looking at over 70,000 pre-assessments, 72% tested out.

What can we do with this data?

Two easy options come to mind. We are sure there are plenty of other possibilities:

  • Organizations should look for ways to check team knowledge of Infection Prevention & Control in new ways—not the typical reading comprehension post-test. A benchmark assessment would accomplish this.
  • With the results of a benchmark assessments—targeted learning should be prioritized at both the organizational and individuals level.

Learn more about HAIs from the CDC: