Infection Prevention Experts Recommend Sweeping Updates

A new comprehensive article lays out best practice guidelines for 14 areas of infection prevention and control.

Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), an organization devoted to advancing the science and practice of infection prevention and control, was founded 50 years ago this year. The title and goals of the APIC have evolved from “Infection Control” to “Infection Prevention and Control (IPC)” to reflect the objectives and purposes of the organization and the profession.

However, infection prevention (IP) has not stopped at stopped at APIC’s door. Throughout the United States, the IP programs in health care facilities continually improve best practices through revisions of each health care systems’ guidelines by assessing efficacy, and revising, standardizing, and monitoring clinical and ancillary practices.

Recently, an article, “Recommendations for Change in Infection Prevention Programs and Practice” was published in the American Journal of Infection Control advocating changes to best practices in the IPC field. In the article, the authors endorsed their updates be considered for implementation in health care facilities and systems across the United States.

“This article addresses many of those issues, providing insight on how to more effectively improve IP programs, standardize metrics, and better control potential HAI events in the future,” the authors explained in the article.

Experts in the field—experienced IPs, epidemiologists, physicians, and other experts—authored the article and offer guidance on critical issues currently affecting IP programs. Their emphasis is on implementation of innovative, cost-effective, and evidence-based interventions, while involving health care leaders and experts in clinical care in proven prevention measures. Other key concerns addressed in the comprehensive article are holding the staff accountable and applying high reliability values.

“Coordinated efforts at reducing health care associated infections (HAIs) have been determined to be effective to varying degrees when IP programs are provided with adequate resources and supported by the implementation of evidence-based strategies,” the authors explained. “Multifaceted HAI prevention programs have been proven to be cost-effective, a finding of vital importance in the present landscape of healthcare reimbursement and therefore in the overall financial health of the institution.”

This article recommends standard priority areas of focus for IP professionals and changes in IP programs. These key issues include the following titles:

The authors state that strong leadership support will directly affect IPs successes with new programs. A recent analysis of management methods identified 3 practices as important facilitators in the prevention of HAIs: 1. involves engagement of executive staff. 2. addresses information sharing. 3. involves management coaching.

Challenges that IPs face in contemporary health care settings, including home health care and acute care facilities, have presented complex and diverse situations to overcome and forced IPs to consider alternative methods to reduce infection risks and prevent and control known and emerging pathogens. This article will be a guide for the future of IPs, epidemiologists, and the c-suite alike in best practices for their facility.