Experts Convene at Summit to Develop Solutions to Reduce HAIs


For Denise Castelli, the Infection Prevention Leadership Summit provides hope that healthcare teams will continue striving for new solutions to combat healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Castelli knows the impact of HAIs all too well. As a senior center fielder at the University of New Haven, Conn., Castelli suffered a broken leg while playing in one of her final college softball games. A leg infection ensued, keeping her on the sidelines for the next 15 months. After suffering through more than 30 surgeries to combat the surgical site infection, Castelli had her right leg amputated below the knee. Her story is a poignant reminder that, despite the best efforts of passionate healthcare workers, HAIs still occur.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HAIs remain a significant threat to patient health and recovery and the financial viability of healthcare facilities. Approximately one in 20(1) hospitalized patients acquires an HAI, with an estimated annual direct medical cost to hospitals between $28.4 and $45 billion.(2) The cost benefits of prevention range from $5.7 billion (assuming 20 percent of infections are preventable) to as much as $31.5 billion (assuming 70 percent of infections are preventable).(3)

New approaches are needed that focus on leadership and collaboration across disciplines to achieve sustainable HAI reduction. This was the focus of the 2012 Infection Prevention Leadership Summit (IPLS) hosted by the 3M Infection Prevention Division and its partners Sage Products Belimed and Rochester Medical, the only educational event of its kind to bring together key professional associations and interdisciplinary participants to exclusively focus on leadership in HAI reduction.

More than 30 teams representing healthcare facilities from all regions of the United States, Brazil, Canada and the Netherlands convened at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minn. this week to tackle real-world business cases and challenges related to achieving sustainable HAI reduction. Unlike other meetings, IPLS brought together cross-functional teams for working sessions and leadership training. By focusing on their own real business cases, the teams emerged with solutions and ideas they can put into practice at their facilities.

This summit provided a unique chance for us to see how other facilities are approaching their challenges and business cases and how we can put these key learnings and leadership skills into practice at our own facility, says Valerie Prager, RN, working in epidemiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical System.

Teams representing the various areas within the hospital were invited to attend the annual summit that spanned members of the infection control, sterilization, operating room and environmental services departments within their respective hospitals. Seven professional organizations, including the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), and the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM), provided mentors to the hospital teams to provide leadership coaching during the on-site summit working sessions. On the final day of the summit, selected teams presented key takeaways and solutions to a select panel of hospital executives. All teams were able to sit in on these sessions and final presentations, providing learning and coaching opportunities for all present.

One of the biggest issues facing the healthcare system today in the fight against HAIs is the breakdown in communication within the hierarchy of a facility. Many teams at IPLS were working on this specific challenge, says E. Patchen Dellinger, MD, of the University of Washington Medical Center and past-president of the Surgical Infection Society (SIS). The summit provided an opportunity to hear what is working for others and allowed teams opportunities to develop strategies they can use to achieve universal adherence in their own hospitals.

The Summit was a collaborative effort co-sponsored by 3M Sage Products Belimed and Rochester Medical, in partnership with the following professional associations: SHEA APIC AORN IAHCSMM NPFS, SIS and AHE. The University of St. Thomas Physician Leadership Program developed the Summit curriculum focused on Leading Change for Sustainable HAI Reduction.

To eliminate HAIs, we need to identify new strategies and solutions, as well as teach healthcare professionals the necessary leadership skills to implement change within their facilities, says Linda Groah, CEO/executive director of AORN. The IPLS provides a unique opportunity to do both and reinforces the collaborative approach needed for sustainable success.

3M continues to lead the way with innovative approaches to the IPLS format and in providing opportunities to help healthcare facilities reduce HAIs. The format for 2012 was built on research and attendee feedback from last years event. The team approach builds on the call-to-action white paper authored by the 2011 IPLS attendees, subject matter experts, noted faculty, professional society leaders and industry partners. The paper titled, "Educate Empower Engage: A Collaborative Interdisciplinary Call to Action for Reducing Surgical Site Infection," is available through the 3M Infection Prevention Leadership Summit website.



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