The landscape of infection prevention is continually shifting and requires constant engagement to grow and learn. The annual APIC conference provides infection prevention practitioners from across the country with that opportunity. This was CleanSlate UV’s third time in attendance, and it once again proved to be very informative for our organization. Here are a few takeaways from the conference this year:
Infection Control is Everyone's Responsibility
The greatest tool available to an Infection Preventionist is an engaged staff that embraces their role in keeping patients safe. Many nurses shared that their Infection Control team is limited in what it can accomplish as a group.
Yet, through engaging staff unit by unit, the hospital can see real progress in their HAI rates and patient outcomes. Infection Preventionists should not try to accomplish everything themselves. As they say… teamwork makes the dream work!
You Can’t Fix What You Don’t Know!
Infection Preventionists are often the first to learn of new methods and approaches to reduce HAIs. Unfortunately, Infection Control techniques and best practices are often not shared throughout the hospital in a timely manner. This means that a strong infection control team not only applies their skills in the hospital but also educates others on how they can improve patient outcomes.
"Teach for knowledge. Coach for behavior, Mentor for wisdom" Stephen Street highlighting his motto for IP #APIC2017— Bryan O. Buckley, DrPH, MPH (@bryanobuckley) June 14, 2017
A constant challenge for Infection Control is to make recommendations to other hospital units without being seen as encroaching on the hard work of their staff. A little empathy and finesse in your communication techniques can go a long way in building trust and enacting long lasting behavior changes throughout the hospital.
New Technology, New Challenges
Electronic Medical Records (EMR) are sweeping across North America. Systems like Epic and Cerner are improving the landscape in which healthcare providers are recording and processing information on mobile devices such as phones and tablets. These deployments save staff tremendous amounts of time and help to ease the sharing of data between workers. Yet adopting an EMR system requires a tremendous effort on the part of the staff from learning the new system to proper implementation.
One challenge in particular, that brought many curious staff members to our booth is how they would sanitize all of the devices associated with an EMR implementation? Or how long will it take? Using disinfectant wipes simply isn’t an option for hospitals as it’s proven to be damaging to mobile phones and tablets – no one wants that! At CleanSlate UV we’re focused on providing solutions that not only address the question of sanitizing hospital products, but are also easy to use and fit into the workflow of staff.
UV This, UV That! How do I choose an effective system?
With a variety of technologies that exist in disinfection it can be a challenge to know what to look for! A number of nurses shared with us that their committees have found it challenging to balance the many claims made by UV technologies with their evolving needs. What makes one UV solution better than another?
A number of nurses shared with us that their committees have found it challenging to balance the many claims made by UV technologies with their evolving needs.
First, Infection Preventionists will want to evaluate which pathogens the UV system is capable of killing. Every hospital is going to want to see how effectively a UV unit is capable of killing C. Difficile and MRSA. If it can eliminate these pathogens, its safe to say it will kill others too! Pathogen Kill-Rates are often measured in “log-rates”. For instance a “three log” kill rate is 99.9%, a “four log” is 99.99% etc.
Once your team has established that the UV product meets your infection control needs they ought to consider the speed of the solution. Asking questions like “is it fast enough to fit into our workflow?”. Remember that a faster unit doesn’t always maintain the same kill-rates as discussed above! So remain vigilant in your analysis and always request their efficacy data to review if it stands up to their stated claims.
Don’t forget to evaluate how many items the UV solution is capable of disinfecting. The more items that can be accommodated into a disinfection solution, the greater value you’ll be getting out of the technology. Moreover, consider how many items can pass through the technology at the same time. If a unit is capable of doing more than one item at a time it can save your visitors and staff a great amount of time.
Lastly, staff should always consider how easy the UV solution is to use and to implement. Some UV technology requires specialized training and can only be used by staff. A good solution is one that is easy enough for visitors to use and capable of handling high traffic.
What's good for the patient is good for the nurse is good for the system #Apic2017— Timothy Bowers (He/Him) (@InfectionPrvntn) June 15, 2017
As always, the conference was a great opportunity to network and learn from other professionals in the infection and control industry. Thank you to everyone who came by our booth to sanitize your mobile devices – we hope you learned something from our team as well.