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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

APIC at 40: Full public awareness of IP role critical to future of infection prevention

The future of infection prevention hinges in large part on greater public awareness of the vital role IPs play in protecting patients throughout the health care system, an acknowledgement that is needed to preserve and expand program resources, said Patti Grant, RN, BSN, MS, CIC, president of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

“Until the public demands our presence in health care we are only going to go so far,” she said recently in Fort Lauderdale in delivering the annual president’s address at APIC’s 40th annual conference.

While patients expect and demand clean hospitals, skilled surgeons and even good food, they rarely inquire about the number and expertise level of a facility’s infection preventionists.

“When was the last time anybody from the general public walked into a health care facility, went over to the information desk and said, ‘I need to know how many certified IPs are in this hospital?’ Until the public demands our presence the way they demand all these other things we are not going to progress much further than where we are,” said Grant, director of infection prevention and quality at Methodist Hospital for Surgery in Addison, TX.

Infection prevention has dramatically moved away from the old passive mindset of benchmark HAI rates and inevitable infections, now pushing for HAI eradication and zero tolerance for non-compliance with proven methods of prevention.

“In order to be successful in the future we are going to have to be obsessed with failure,” Grant said. “I’m not saying we have to do a root cause analysis on every infection. I’m talking about no longer tolerating non-compliance at the bedside, in the sterile processing department, anywhere in health care where we know evidence-based practices work and yet we let business go on as usual. That has to stop. We have got to become change agents. We have to stop rationalizing when we see infections happen.”

For more on this story see the August issue of Hospital Infection Control & Prevention