Infection Prevention Experts Share Information, Strategies at Conference on Infectious Diseases

The 12th Conference on Infectious Diseases, sponsored by SHEA, APIC and AORN, and underwritten and hosted by Kimberly-Clark Health Care, brought together infection control practitioners, nurses and physicians to promote dialogue about contemporary challenges in the prevention and management of infectious diseases in healthcare institutions. The event, held in early December at the Kimberly- Clark headquarters in Roswell, Ga., offered a dynamic mix of contemporary topics such as multi-drug resistant organisms and pandemic influenza, presented by infection prevention experts from many disciplines. Lectures on these and other hot topics were complemented by faculty panels, case study presentations and attendee interaction.

Michael G. Ison, MD, of Northwestern University, discussed influenza as a seasonal and pandemic threat, explaining the epidemiological importance of the flu and urging conference attendees to remain up to date on the treatment and prevention of this viral pathogen. Dale Bratzler, DO, MPH, updated attendees on the Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) and the importance of the continued drive toward the prompt discontinuation of antibiotic prophylaxis following surgery to reduce resistance. Bratzler emphasized that SCIP remains particularly relevant in light of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announcement that as of Oct. 1, it will no longer pay for certain complications, including surgical site infection following CABG. He also shared that four organizations, including SHEA and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) are working on new antibioticrelated recommendations.

Carlene Muto, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, presented the latest data on how the concept of zero tolerance can help prevent bloodstream infections, and that bundles of evidence-based practices can add to HAI-prevention success. Muto noted that while every infection may not be preventable, at least one-third more infections can be prevented than currently are. The key is engaging all healthcare institution stakeholders and having infection control practitioners become agents of change of their hospitals, she said.

Lt. Cmdr. Arjun Srinivasan, MD, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) presented an update from the CDC on infection control issues in urology practices, focusing on the importance of preventing bacterial transmission through proper instrument cleaning, decontamination, sterilization and reprocessing.

Srinivasan also presented a number of strategies to control and prevent multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs), and shared the latest data on the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) and Clostridium difficile in healthcare settings. He emphasized the need for effective environmental cleaning, paying close attention to high-touch surfaces such as touch pads on medication dispensing machines and other frequently used devices.

Denise Murphy, RN, MPH, president of APIC and chief patient safety and quality officer at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, delivered a keynote address on Dispelling the Myths: Costs Associated with Healthcare-Acquired Infections, explaining the critical need for ICPs to continue to make the business case for infection prevention to their hospital administrators. Her presentation was followed by a panel on infection prevention success stories, as well as a peek into the future of how new technologies and practices will impact patient safety, presented by Linda K. Groah, RN, MSN, CNOR, CNAA, FAAN.