What is SPARC?

The Maryland Statewide Prevention and Reduction Collaborative (SPARC) is a statewide quality improvement project engaging public health and academia to address the evolving needs of Maryland hospitals related to infection prevention and antibiotic stewardship. The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) works closely with the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University to coordinate SPARC while leveraging the expertise of NORC at the University of Chicago as its implementation contractor.

The Success of the SPARC Model

In previous years, SPARC focused on the prevention and reduction of Clostridioides difficile infections (CDI). The collaborative was extremely successful with a reduction in CDI of 45% for the 12 hospitals that participated in the collaborative and a reduction in the Maryland Standardized Infection Ratio from 0.92 to 0.61.

At the beginning of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, hospitals quickly shifted focus to the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. SPARC leveraged weekly MDH COVID-19 update calls to provide expert-led forums, panel discussions, and question-and-answer town halls. A recent assessment of SPARC activities found that SPARC was an important source of information for hospitals managing dynamic COVID-19 guidance and policies.

Addressing the Evolving Needs of Maryland Hospitals

SPARC is launching a new effort focused on antibiotic stewardship while continuing its critical work supporting hospitals in their infection prevention, COVID-19 response, and confronting emerging infectious diseases. Launching in the Summer of 2022, this new initiative will allow hospitals to pioneer stewardship in Maryland. The first phase will focus on supporting hospitals in standardizing data for submission to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Antimicrobial Use and Resistance (AUR) Module, data reporting which is expected to become a required component of hospital reporting in the near future.

Using expertise and resources available through the Maryland Prevention Epicenters (the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine) and MDH, SPARC will help hospitals:

Implementation of SPARC Stewardship activities will include both virtual and in-person engagement opportunities developed in consultation with subject matter experts and the SPARC team.