Consumer knowledge and attitudes towards public reporting of healthcare associated infection data

Dr Philip Russo1, Dr Robin Digby1, Professor Tracey Bucknall1

1Deakin University, Burwood, Australia


Background: There is little information regarding consumer knowledge of healthcare associated infection (HAI) in the Australian setting. Furthermore, it is also unclear how meaningful publicly reported HAI data is to consumers, how they may use it, and the most appropriate format for data to be presented. The purpose of this study was to explore consumer knowledge and attitudes towards HAI and public reporting.

Method: A qualitative study design characterised by a series of semi structured interviews was undertaken with purposively selected, elective surgical inpatient adults at a large metropolitan acute hospital in Melbourne. Interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Analysis of the data was conducted using thematic analysis.

Results: Twenty interviews were conducted. Three major themes were identified, each with 3-4 sub themes; 1) Awareness of HAI – Patient understanding of HAI; MyHospitals data; Patient contribution to infection prevention; Previous experience of HAI. 2) Patient Priorities – Primary focus on current illness; Relationships and reputation; Confidence in staff to manage risk. 3) What patients want to know – Current source of patient information; Preferred source of information; Information content; Influence on choice of hospital.

Discussion: We found broad variation in knowledge, sources of information, and preferences for the type and delivery of information. A significant cohort of participants preferred not to be informed, whilst others were neutral or only mildly interested. If public reporting of HAI data is to be aimed at consumers, further engagement with consumers is crucial to ensure information is provided is fit for purpose.


Robin Digby is a research fellow with Deakin University. Her background is in nursing in sub-acute care, rehabilitation and palliative care. Robin’s PhD (2016) was an ethnographic study of people with dementia in hospital for treatment of a physical illness. She joined Deakin University as a research fellow in 2016 and has since worked as a qualitative researcher on projects including the PRONTO study which investigated nurses’ response to the deteriorating patient; the safe medication project aimed at identifying patient preferences for involvement in medication management during hospitalisation; a study exploring the role of nurses in sub-acute care; and projects in ICU, elective surgery and acute wards examining the perspective of patients and families on various topics.

Robin’s research interests include improving the consumers’ experience of hospitalisation, understanding and improving the culture of nursing, and psycho-social issues in acute care.

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