Decennial 2020 research sets the agenda for advancing safe healthcare

Nov. 4, 2020

More than 700 studies, including 250 international abstracts, highlighting worldwide progress in preventing and controlling healthcare-associated infections and addressing antibiotic resistance were published as part of the proceedings from the Sixth Decennial International Conference on Healthcare-Associated Infections, announced The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA).

The Sixth Decennial, a conference co-hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and SHEA, was cancelled in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All abstracts accepted for the meeting appear in a supplement for the journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

“While COVID-19 disrupted the plans for sharing the progress of preventing healthcare-associated infections and combating antibiotic resistance over the last decade, it is critical we disseminate,  learn from, and promote successes across the world,” said Denise Cardo, MD, Director of the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Despite existing and emerging threats, safe care must be delivered, and patients must be protected from harm. We can meet this challenge with robust and informed action.”

As part of the planning for the conference, coordinated once every 10 years for the past 60 years, the Decennial Program Committee of 25 experts in infectious diseases selected the central theme, Global Solutions to Antibiotic Resistance in Healthcare, to acknowledge the need for coordinated international collaboration in the fight against healthcare-associated infections, including those caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The committee reviewed international advances of the previous decade and future trends in the fields of healthcare epidemiology, infectious diseases, infection prevention, patient safety and antibiotic stewardship. Three key topics emerged:

•  Innovation The development of novel prevention tools, strategies, diagnostics, and therapeutics has been critical in the progress of infection prevention and addressing the threat of antibiotic resistance. Further innovation related to healthcare technology, practices, policies, and programs are needed to continue to move towards the goal of eliminating HAIs and slowing antibiotic resistance.

•   Data for Action Facilities, states, clinicians, and other stakeholders need data to drive detection and prevention strategies to eliminate healthcare-associated infections and combat antibiotic resistance. Improvements in use of surveillance, epidemiologic, clinical, and laboratory data are critical to help close knowledge gaps and allow for the implementation of effective strategies to provide safe care.

•   Addressing Antimicrobial Resistance Without Borders Many factors impact the local and global burden and transmission of antibiotic resistance. To prevent resistant pathogens from spreading within and between healthcare facilities and the environment, constant vigilance and action are needed. Global success in containing spread of healthcare-associated infections and antibiotic resistance will require coordinated responses at the local, regional, and international levels. Public health and healthcare systems must work together to share information to detect and to implement effective practices to prevent infections from occurring and spreading. 

“While we have worked to manage, control, and understand the COVID-19 pandemic, we still need to address the constant threat of treatment-resistant infections and our imperative to prevent healthcare-associated infections and foster appropriate use of antimicrobial treatments,” said David Henderson, MD, FSHEA, president of SHEA. “This volume of research is invaluable for helping us identify how best to move the field ahead to deliver safer healthcare for all.”

The meeting was planned in collaboration with the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America has the release.