Reflections from Infection Prevention 2015 Part III: Thinking outside the box

think outside the box

For the third and final installment of my blog-report from Infection Prevention 2015, I thought I’d cover some of the more innovative approaches in and around the IPC sphere:

Part I: Beating the bugs

Part II: Improving the systems

Part III: Thinking outside the box

New technology to improve hand and environmental hygiene

I for one am pretty sick of seeing unrealistically high levels of hand hygiene compliance being reported from peer-to-peer manual auditing approaches. One way to get more realistic compliance data is through automated approaches to hand hygiene compliance, reviewed here by Drs Dawson (Warwick) and Mackrill (Imperial College London), who also presented their findings at the conference, and by another group here. Drs Dawson and Mackrill considered issues around product usage, self-reporting, direct observation, perceptions of technology (often viewed, unhelpfully, as a ‘silver bullet’), and staff perceptions of need and benefit. They divided the technology into those that monitored product usage, surveillance systems that monitored individual performance, and systems that monitored both product usage and individual performance. Although automated surveillance systems will always be imperfect and involve a degree of inference, would you rather monitor the 5 moments sporadically / badly or have robust measurements of a smaller number of moments? Automated surveillance methods will not replace manual audits – at least for now – but it’s time to take a long hard look at what is available.

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Reflections from Infection Prevention 2015 Part II: Improving the systems

Swiss_cheese_model_of_accident_causation

Welcome to the second installment of my blog-report from Infection Prevention 2015, focused on improving the systems around the delivery of safe healthcare, and infection prevention and control:

Part I: Beating the bugs

Part II: Improving the systems

Part III: Thinking outside the box

The economics of HCAI is going to become increasingly important as the NHS – and healthcare systems worldwide – continue to “seek efficiency savings” (aka demand more for less). So the overview of HCAI economics from Dr Nick Graves (QUT, Australia) was timely. I find it remarkable that we are still so reliant on the 2000 Plowman report to gauge the cost of HCAI – surely there must be a more sophisticated approach? There is something rather uncomfortable about setting an ‘acceptable’ level of HCAI, or putting a £ value that we would be prepared pay to save a life, but this is exactly what we have to do to manage the demands of scarcity. Dr Graves presented some useful worked examples to illustrate his point, around coated catheters, hip replacements, hand hygiene improvement, and MRSA screening. In most cases, there comes a point where a health benefit is too expensive to ‘purchase’, which is an uncomfortable but very real choice across all areas of healthcare (e.g. cancer drugs).

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