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INSIDE THE CURRENT ISSUE

June 2009

 

2009 Infection Control Buyer's Guide

Infection preventionists, vendors must ‘speak the same language’

by Jeannie Akridge

Infection prevention is on everyone’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) –infection preventionists are also being tasked with increasing regulation and reporting requirements.

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."

The 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. 3M Health Care’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 don’t understand the basics of microbiology and epidemiology then you’re just pushing a product, and you’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 IP’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."

Product pipeline

PURELL TFX Touch Free Dispenser

One of the ultimate goals of APIC’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 that’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. There’s so much legislation active right now around ambulatory surgery centers and other ambulatory care centers."

"They’re looking for tools around rapid diagnostics," continued Eaton. "And surface decontamination – what does the green movement mean for disinfectants? These are the questions that come to them that they’re having to try to answer. Plus there’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 – 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 more details: www.apic.org.

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 their facilities.

Infection preventionists, vendors must ‘speak the same language’

HAI Prevention tool kit

High-touch equals high-risk

IC Product Spotlights

Infection Control Product Guide by Supplier's Name

A-K

L-Z


 

Common sense cleaning: The rid guide for hospital cleaning professionals

1. Your job is important: You are saving lives. Scientists find that correct cleaning of patients’ rooms can reduce deadly infections by as much as 67%.

2. Looking clean isn’t the same as being clean: A room can look clean and neat but still have invisible germs that make patients sick.

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. Don’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 solution.

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 clothes.

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. Don’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),
www.hospitalinfection.org

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