What is an infection?

  • An infection is the invasion by and multiplication of pathogenic microorganisms in a bodily part or tissue, which may produce injury and lead to disease in a variety of ways.

What is a healthcare-associated infection?

  • Healthcare-associated infections are infections that patients acquire while receiving treatment for medical or surgical conditions. HAIs occur in all settings of care, including acute care within hospitals and same day surgical centers, ambulatory outpatient care in healthcare clinics, and in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities. HAIs are associated with a variety of causes, including (but not limited to) the use of medical devices, such as catheters and ventilators, complications following a surgical procedure, transmission between patients and healthcare workers, or the result of antibiotic overuse.
  • Iowa HHS and community partners are working together to eliminate preventable HAIs in Iowa.
  • HAIs include catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI), central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSI), Clostridium difficile infections (CDI), and surgical site infections (SSI). These infections are among the most common, and can cause illness and death and may lead to longer stays in the hospital.

HAI Prevention Information

Consultative Services

Iowa HHS HAI experts provide the latest education, evaluation and planning resources to help hospitals and other healthcare facilities improve infection prevention and control programs. 

Services are consultative — not regulatory or punitive — and always free of charge. To ask questions or schedule a service, email hai-ar@idph.iowa.gov

Targeted Assessment for Prevention (TAP)

Infection Control Assessment and Response (ICAR) On-Site Visit 

  • Using the CDC’s ICAR tools, a member of the Iowa HHS HAI program team will visit your hospital, clinic or long-term care facility to review current HAI risks and mitigation strategies. 
  • You will also receive 
    • A customized, confidential evaluation of strengths and opportunities 
    • Guidance on current policies, quality improvement priorities and planning activities 
    • The latest resources, tools and training, tailored to your needs 
  • To learn more, view 

Guest Lectures 

  • Lectures from Iowa HHS HAI experts help students and future healthcare professionals learn about HAI risks and how to prevent them. 
  • Presentations are available on a variety of learning topics, with content centered on students’ focuses and interests.
  • To learn more, view 

National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Technical Support

  • The Iowa HHS HAI program team is available to all users of the NHSN — the most widely used tracking system for HAIs in the United States, developed and maintained by the CDC. 
  • Receive one-on-one technical support, help onboard new staff and get answers regarding how to meet NHSN data quality standards. 
  • To learn more, view 

Open Office Hours

  • Hosted by Iowa HHS HAI experts, two 30-minute virtual open office hours are offered each month — one for providers working in long-term care (nursing home) settings and one for providers working in acute care (hospital) settings.
  • These informal meetings allow providers time to ask questions, request information and receive guidance. 


Reporting information:

Fact Sheets:

Links for more information