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Outputs: Research to Practice

Historically, NIOSH has been a leader in applying research into workplace solutions that reduce injury and illness. Research to Practice (r2p) is a NIOSH initiative focused on the transfer and translation of research findings, technologies, and information into highly effective prevention practices and products which are adopted in the workplace.

The goal of r2p is to increase workplace use of effective NIOSH and NIOSH-funded research findings. NIOSH continues to work with our partners to focus research on ways to develop effective products, translate research findings into practice, target dissemination efforts, and evaluate and demonstrate the effectiveness of these efforts in improving worker health and safety.

The following examples illustrate ways NIOSH research was translated into practice in the Healthcare and Social Assistance sector:

  • The recognition of latex allergies as a public health problem coincided with the dramatic increase in the use of medical gloves for prevention of blood borne diseases in the 1980s. No medical glove reactions were reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prior to 1985. Between January 1, 1985 and March 31, 1999, FDA received 2,396 reports describing reactions associated with the use of medical gloves. Of these, 2,309 (96%), described health effects associated with the use of medical gloves made from natural rubber latex (NRL). In 1997 NIOSH published an Alert: 'Preventing Allergic Reactions to Natural Rubber Latex in the Workplace.'

Subsequent publications document the decline in latex allergy prevalence in relation to adoption of NIOSH recommendations:

  • The results of three studies, conducted at Harvard University and co-funded by NIOSH, examined the impact of long and extended work hours on medical interns' clinical performance and risk for car crashes and were included in the rationale for standard stetting by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). In July 2003, the ACGME instituted common standards that limit duty hours for resident physicians in all accredited programs. As the body responsible for the accreditation of more than 8,000 programs that collectively provide for the education of 100,000 residents, the ACGME is the entity to which the medical community and public looks to set and enforce resident duty hour limits. The ACGME and its Residency Review Committees (RRCs) developed the standards in response to a growing body of scientific information about the negative effects of sleep loss and fatigue on resident education and performance, and the potential for adverse consequences for the safety and well-being of patients and residents. The limits also respond to changes in health care delivery that have increased patient acuity in the nation's teaching hospitals.

    Two years after the establishment of the ACGME's common duty hour standards the vast majority of residency programs are complying according to a confidential internet survey of more than 50,000 residents.

  • The NIOSH Alert: Preventing Needlestick Injuries in Healthcare Settings, has been instrumental in convincing health care facilities to use safer sharps devices Health care facilities in the U.S. have replaced traditional syringes and scalpels with engineered sharps and safety features resulting in reduced needlestick injuries among healthcare workers.
  • NIOSH research has demonstrated the efficacy of a safe patient lifting program. The program achieved highly significant reductions in injuries, workers' compensation costs and lost and restricted workdays to healthcare workers. The research results showed improved quality of care delivered to patients and nursing home residents. Current research efforts are focused on research to practice activities targeting the nation's 15,000 nursing homes to stimulate widespread replication of these significant findings.

 

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  • Page last reviewed: October 31, 2012
  • Page last updated: October 31, 2012
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