The Maryland Statewide Prevention and Reduction Collaborative (SPARC) is a quality improvement project among public health, academics, and acute care to address the infection control and prevention needs of Maryland hospitals. The collaborative includes the Maryland Prevention EpiCenters (University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), the Maryland Department of Health, NORC, and Maryland acute care hospitals. In previous years, SPARC focused on prevention and reduction of Clostridioides difficile infections (CDI).
While addressing CDI remains an important issue for hospitals, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenge and created new needs for hospitals as they adapt protocols and infection prevention strategies. Hospitals are contending with how to simultaneously treat patients with COVID-19, patients with other medical conditions or acute health needs, and contain the spread of coronavirus. To help address this issue in the state of Maryland, SPARC has shifted focus to COVID-19 and general infection prevention practices in Maryland hospitals. The collaborative aims to develop expert-led guidance and provide practical recommendations for COVID-19 prevention and general infection prevention to Maryland acute hospitals in a peer-to-peer learning structure. NORC serves as SPARC’s implementation contractor, providing technical assistance, operational support and leading evaluation activities.