On June 14th, thousands of infection control practitioners, nurses and managers will descend on Portland, Oregon for the annual APIC conference. This is the single largest gathering of infection control professionals in North America, and its packed with three days of educational sessions, keynote addresses, and a massive exhibition hall featuring all of the latest innovations in infection control.
So what are a couple of things attendees should be looking out for – aside from free stuff?
Hand Hygiene (Again)
Almost every hospital in North America has “improving hand hygiene compliance” somewhere in their top three infection control goals – and for good reason. Study after study demonstrates that hand hygiene is one of the leading factors in cross-contamination and patient safety.
Moreover, as most ICPs will tell you, getting people to consistently wash or sanitize their hands is a never-ending battle. Staff who do it all the time can become complacent, while visitors and patients need to be made aware of it at all. Many facilities try to have the importance of hand hygiene drilled into everyone’s heads from the moment they step foot in a facility. When is it enough?
For infection control practitioners, this means there is always work to be done, and it certainly isn’t an easy task. This is likely why so many companies over the past decade have tried to tackle not just hand hygiene (better chemical solutions, automatic dispensing technologies, etc) but also compliance.
Yet despite all of these efforts, few companies can claim to have really made their mark on hand hygiene compliance. Expect companies at APIC 2017 to unveil new, technology-driven systems that look to improve upon hand hygiene compliance.
Plus, you can expect our team to address the importance of cleaning the dirty devices we touch over 1000 times per day, so that clean hands aren’t immediately re-contaminated.
A Focus on Re-Processing
Endoscope re-processing has emerged as a significant issue over the past year and is the subject of several educational sessions at this year’s conference. A study in the February issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, noted that even facilities with rigorous reprocessing practices have been deemed insufficient due to the impact of potential contamination.
This study, as well as the internal data in many facilities, has prompted a focus on both technological and process driven improvements across the country. Both will be addressed at APIC this year. You can expect to hear about process improvements in the educational sessions, and to see various technological innovations on the exhibit floor. These may take the form of new and improved reprocessing technologies, but could also extend to enhanced and/or automated inspection and biological marker technologies, which have been recommended as a way to decrease contamination from Endoscopes.
Ultra-Violet Light and Mobile Devices
We think this will be a break-out year for countertop ultraviolet light technology, due to how quickly and effectively it can sanitize smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.
UV-C light has become popular in many facilities via full-room disinfection. Solutions like CleanSlate UV not only miniaturize this superbug-killing technology, but we make it possible for anyone to sanitize a device, without any training, in just 30 seconds.
So, whether people are talking about hand hygiene, environmental cleanliness, or just how to disinfect devices without using screen-damaging chemicals, we expect a lot of buzz around UVC light.
Moving this proven technology out of HVAC systems and bulky full-room systems, and into facility entrances, nursing stations and hallways, will allow infection control practitioners to finally provide a practical tool for disinfecting the growing number of mobile devices in hospitals around the country.