Definition of criteria and indicators for the prevention of Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) in hospitals for the purposes of Italian institutional accreditation and performance monitoring

Stefano Tardivo, F. Moretti, M. Nobile, A. Agodi, R. Appignanesi, C. Arrigoni, T. Baldovin, S. Brusaferro, R. Canino, A. Carli, R. Chiesa, D. D'Alessandro, M. M. D'Errico, G. Giuliani, M. T. Montagna, M. Moro, I. I. Mura, R. Novati, G. B. Orsi, C. PasquarellaG. Privitera, G. Ripabelli, A. Rossini, M. Saia, L. Sodano, M. V. Torregrossa, E. Torri, R. Zarrilli, F. Auxilia, GISIO Working Group of the Italian Society of Hygiene, Preventive Medicine and Public Health (SItI)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are an important issue in terms of quality of care. HAIs impact patient safety by contributing to higher rates of preventable mortality and prolonged hospitalizations. In Italy, analysis of the currently available accreditation systems shows a substantial heterogeneity of approaches for the prevention and surveillance of HAIs in hospitals. The aim of the present study is to develop and propose the use of a synthetic assessment tool that could be implemented homogenously throughout the nation. Methods. An analysis of nine international and of the 21 Italian regional accreditation systems was conducted in order to identify requirements and indicators implemented for HAI prevention and control. Two relevant reviews on this topic were further analyzed to identify additional evidence-based criteria. The project team evaluated all the requirements and indicators with consensus meeting methodology, then those applicable to the Italian context were grouped into a set of "focus areas". Results. The analysis of international systems and Italian regional accreditation manuals led to the identification respectively of 19 and 14 main requirements, with relevant heterogeneity in their application. Additional evidence-based criteria were included from the reviews analysis. From the consensus among the project team members all the standards were compared and 20 different thematic areas were identified, with a total of 96 requirements and indicators for preventing and monitoring HAIs. Conclusions. The study reveals a great heterogeneity in the definition of accreditation criteria between the Italian regions. The introduction of a uniform, synthetic assessment instrument, based on the review of national and international standards, may serve as a self-assessment tool to evaluate the achievement of a minimum standards set for HAIs prevention and control in healthcare facilities. This may be used as an assessment tool by the Italian institutional accreditation system, also useful to reduce regional disparities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-547
Number of pages19
JournalAnnali di Igiene
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs)
  • Institutional accreditation
  • Outcome indicators
  • Patient safety
  • Performance monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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