Operational targets for hospitals

The federal government and its partners have resolved to set operational targets aimed at reducing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). This is a major step forward in terms of establishing a coherent approach to combat HAIs at the national level.

Joint roadmap

The overall aim of the NOSO Strategy is to reduce HAIs and prevent the spread of potentially dangerous pathogens. In order realise this objective, the federal government, working together with the Swiss Conference of the Cantonal Ministers of Public Health (CMPH) and H+ (the Hospitals of Switzerland), published recommendations in February 2024 aimed at sustainably reducing HAIs over the next ten years. The so-called operational targets establish guidelines at the national level and make reference to the structural minimum standards for the prevention and control of HAIs in Swiss acute hospitals. With these national goals, the partners involved in implementation will create a common vision of how the overall HAI rate is to be reduced in Switzerland.

Created as part of a participatory process

The document on the operational targets is the result of a collaboration between the FOPH and the relevant specialist organisations, the Swiss Conference of the Cantonal Ministers of Public Health (CMPH) and H+ (the Hospitals of Switzerland). The objectives have been validated by H+ (the Hospitals of Switzerland), the CMPH and the National Center for Infection Control (Swissnoso). These partners of the NOSO Strategy support these targets and recommend that the cantons and hospitals implement them.

Hospitals can set their own priorities

The main idea behind these operational targets is to motivate the partners involved in implementation to systematically address HAIs. Hospitals are encouraged to set their own operational target reductions and take appropriate steps, including the implementation of preventive measures and adequate HAI monitoring arrangements, in order to meet these objectives. The hospitals themselves decide where their priorities lie in accordance with their own needs and requirements.

Support with implementation

The published document also includes implementation aids. They are intended to provide acute hospitals with support in defining and achieving their operational reduction targets. The aids are derived from the structural minimum standards compiled by Swissnoso, which is working continuously to develop tools that offer assistance in implementing these minimum requirements. These include, for example, surveillance and intervention (prevention) modules for certain HAIs. Since 2024, a “Self-evaluation framework on the Minimum structural requirements for the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections in Swiss acute-care hospitals” is available in order to determine the implementation status of the structural minimum standards and identify gaps or areas in which improvement is required. This questionnaire was created on the basis of the WHO IPCAF (infection prevention and control assessment framework at the facility level) checklist, which has been adapted in line with the Swiss context. The FOPH regularly organises events to support hospitals and the cantons in implementing the minimum requirements and operational targets and to promote exchanges between the implementation partners. A webinar on this issue was conducted at the beginning of May 2024. The event attracted some 150 participants from hospitals, cantonal authorities and associations concerned with preventing HAIs. The webinar offered the opportunity to present the contents of a document on such operational objectives, and also allowed the FOPH, Swissnoso, the GDK and H+ to address the main questions that have arisen to date in the implementation process. Recordings of the webinar in German and French, along with the presentation documentation, will be found under the Documents and Links tabs below.

Last modification 13.06.2024

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Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Division of Communicable Diseases
Infection Control and Control Measures Section
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