Infection preventionists, vendors must â€˜speak the same
by Jeannie Akridge
nfection prevention is
on everyoneâ€™s radar these days. Just as hospitals are scrambling to
ramp up their arsenal of policies, procedures and products to help
fight healthcare acquired infections (HAIs) â€“infection preventionists
are also being tasked with increasing regulation and reporting
A recent poll of members of the Association for
Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) found that
while 92 percent of members are involved in product selection in their
facilities, 33 percent of members who were facing budget cuts are also
spending less time on product evaluation. "While we know that there
are innovative products that can make a difference, our members have
less time to spend looking at those new products," said Charles Eaton,
vice president of business development for APIC. "Obviously because of
new regulations and legislation the demand on them is increasing to
import data and track information."
BD GeneOhm C. diff molecular assay for the
rapid detection of the Toxin B gene found in toxigenic
Clostridium difficile -- the bacterial pathogen responsible for
Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) -- provides definitive
test results in less than two hours.
Seeking to provide infection preventionists with a
helping hand in their efforts to bring in effective, cutting-edge
products, APIC recently launched its Education for the Prevention of
Infection (EPI) Primer. A "beginner course" for those who are not
infection preventionists, the primer was initially designed to provide
medical technology companies that develop infection prevention
solutions with a greater understanding of the challenges faced by
frontline healthcare workers who manage the threat of HAIs.
Careâ€™s Infection Prevention sales and marketing group recently
completed the course in St. Paul, MN, earning the staff a special
"APIC trained" designation, and setting the stage for other industry
professionals to receive similar training.
"What we felt was very appropriate here was to be sure
that the sales people who are out there with these products speak the
same language as our members," explained Eaton, "so they can
understand, are they really meeting the challenges faced by hospitals
around reducing HAIs? If you donâ€™t understand the basics of
microbiology and epidemiology then youâ€™re just pushing a product, and
youâ€™re not really [offering] a solution. If we can level the playing
field and create a common language of discussion then we are getting
further along in our goal to reduce HAIs."
According to Eaton the EPI Primer assists medical
technology company professionals in becoming partners with infection
preventionists, "to help them assess the value of a product, help them
assess when to use product A vs. product B, and help them make the
business case for their efforts to reduce infections, which was a key
component of our training," he added. "HAIs do cost a facility money,
but how do you show that? How do you take your data at the hospital
and show that?"
Sue Barnes, national leader, infection prevention and
control and patient safety,
Kaiser Permanente Program Offices, and a
member of the National APIC communications committee, offered this
advice for infection preventionists struggling with new product
evaluations and implementation. "One thing I have learned from the
Performance Improvement initiatives of recent years is the small test
of change approach. It is my sense that IPs may be experiencing more
success with this approach than trying to implement a change in
product or practice in all departments all at once. The small test of
change approach accommodates the breadth and scope of the IPâ€™s
responsibilities by limiting the size of PI efforts and leveraging the
collaboration of department managers and physicians in the effort, and
builds internal experience and data, so that new approaches are pulled
into departments rather than having to be pushed into place."
In addition, suggested Barnes, "Ensure that all
stakeholders who will be impacted by a new practice or product have a
voice in the process. Identify champions in each of these groups who
can help to ensure a successful outcome."
One of the ultimate goals of APICâ€™s EPI Primer is to
help influence the development of new infection prevention products.
"We want this to be a two-way street," said Eaton, "and have that
exchange where both parties feel confident in their knowledge, and
feel confident that the information thatâ€™s being passed from the
member to the sales person will get back up the chain and make a real
difference in product design."
Commenting on the types of products that APIC members
are looking for, Eaton noted, "they want to see more products that are
touchless. They want to see more products that perhaps are even
single-use. Thereâ€™s so much legislation active right now around
ambulatory surgery centers and other ambulatory care centers."
"Theyâ€™re looking for tools around rapid diagnostics,"
continued Eaton. "And surface decontamination â€“ what does the green
movement mean for disinfectants? These are the questions that come to
them that theyâ€™re having to try to answer. Plus thereâ€™s significant
emphasis around biofilms right now, and what anti-infective properties
will prohibit biofilm creation. Electronic surveillance will continue
to play a vital role especially as more regulations and legislation
come down the pipe and feed into the need for better data. It all goes
back to systems â€“ systems approaches, devices that integrate with
their infection prevention practices and measures."
APIC is offering an open enrollment EPI Primer course
at its annual conference held June 7-11 in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and
will be expanding its education offerings to include healthcare
workers outside of infection prevention. "Our goal here is to expand
this knowledge base across the board so that everyone who touches
healthcare is aware of the need for increased vigilance around
infection prevention," said Eaton.
APIC is also planning to offer education focused on
product evaluation this year, so keep an eye on the APIC website for
The Healthcare Purchasing News 2009 Infection
Control Buyers Guide
was designed to provide infection preventionists and other key players
with tools and tips for securing the products that help reduce HAIs in
Common sense cleaning: The rid guide for hospital
1. Your job is important: You are saving lives.
Scientists find that correct cleaning of patientsâ€™ rooms can reduce
deadly infections by as much as 67%.
2. Looking clean isnâ€™t the same as being clean: A room
can look clean and neat but still have invisible germs that make
3. Clean those items that patients, doctors and nurses
touch often: such as over-bed tables, call buttons, television controls,
bed rails, faucets, and door knobs. Germs on these items can be carried
to patients and cause infections.
4. Use bleach: Research shows that hypchlorite bleach
destroys germs such as MRSA and C. diff. Use a hospital-approved cleaner
on all high-touch items. (It is not needed on floors.)
5. Donâ€™t spread germs around: Use a clean cloth to wipe
each item. Do not put a soiled wipe or mop head back into your cleaning
6. Do not spray cleaners near a patient: If the room is
occupied, use pre-soaked wipes instead.
7. Keep bed sheets clean: Your clothing gets covered in
germs while you are working. When you pick up clean sheets and
pillowcases to make the bed, do not hold them against your contaminated
8. Protect yourself: Wear gloves when cleaning up blood,
urine, feces, vomit and other bodily fluids. If the mess is large, wear
a protective gown as well. Never push garbage down in the basket with
your hands. When cleaning up glass or other sharp objects, use a dust
pan and broom.
9. Donâ€™t bring germs home after work. Do not pick up
your children, walk on carpets, sit on your furniture, or prepare meals
until you wash your hands and change your work clothes and shoes.
Launder work clothes separately.
Source: Committee to reduce infection deaths (rid),