A Call for Action: HSI Forms Collaboration To Reduce Patient Risk and Mitigate the Spread of HAIs
Collaboration shatters the confines of expertise silos. By uniting specialized knowledge, we can develop a rich tapestry of innovation and problem-solving ideas. This is how we rise above boundaries, allowing sustainable solutions to complex challenges to emerge.
I have worked in the healthcare industry for over 25 years and have witnessed the challenges healthcare professionals face. With the rise in healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and increasing antimicrobial resistance, healthcare professionals are more and more challenged. HSI brings together diverse minds to identify these real-world challenges and provide solutions.
An Example of the Challenges
One of the sales strategies for disinfectant manufacturers is to sell their products to medical device manufacturers to secure a specification and required use of their products by healthcare professionals.
Gaps in Infection Prevention
1. A single disinfectant doesn’t support infection prevention needs and guidelines, and hospitals do not have a library of every different kind of disinfectant available to them.
2. In just one room, if you look around, there are many different products and surface materials, each with different instructions for use (IFUs). There is no way hospital workers can follow every IFU, particularly in the allotted time for room turnover.
3. Not all surfaces/products can be safely cleaned and disinfected the same way. Surface disinfectant compatibility is a serious issue, setting up healthcare professionals for failure when surfaces and products damaged by incompatible disinfectants must be repaired or replaced before their anticipated life cycle. For instance, a facility determines that UV light could support its IP needs. Without knowing if each surface/product is compatible, UV would result in many damaged products and provide safe harbor to microbes and biofilm, increasing the risk of HAIs.
How can we support the different types of infection prevention requirements without causing damage to surfaces?
We Are looking for Stakeholders To Collaborate
Due to the multifaceted nature of this issue and the fact there is no single solution, we are working to bring stakeholders together to find sustainable, integrated solutions.
It is not enough to learn every physical characteristic of a given surface and surface material, nor to become an expert in the latest disinfection agents and protocols. This data must be combined with an understanding of microbiology, the physical environment, patient care, and insight into human behavior.
Addressing just one part of the problem does not work, as revealed in a case study by the Healthcare Surfaces Institute (HSI) and the Association of Healthcare Value Analysis Professionals (AHVAP). In the case study, we identified several gaps in many areas:
Manufacturing – The medical device company had no guidance or minimum standards to reference for disinfectant compatibility/durability testing.
Purchasing – The hospital did not evaluate disinfectant compatibility/durability as part of their purchasing process because Value Analysis was not part of the review.
Communication – The medical device company lacked a single point of contact to coordinate the product implementation within the hospital.
Training – No formal staff training on cleaning and disinfection of the medical device occurred.
The case study is important because it shows how easily gaps in communication and collaboration can result in an increased risk of HAIs. Over the next several months, we will present more gaps we have identified and organize to address them and find solutions.
How Can You Help?
Speak out – Share and discuss what you’ve learned with your colleagues. Ask questions about how your organization can participate in finding solutions.
Get Involved – Become an HSI member to be actively involved in our ongoing work and engage with others who are determined to create solutions.
Leadership – We’re seeking qualified candidates to join the HSI Board of Directors. Connect with us here.
Support – Make a donation to HSI and support the work we are doing.
Please reach out today to be included in the collaborative work we are doing. Lives depend on it!
Surfaces Matter: A New Approach to Patient Safety
Clean and disinfected surfaces are necessary in the healthcare setting to prevent HAIs, yet this basic requirement is a challenge. HSI is the only organization focused on the role surfaces play in this healthcare crisis. The Institute is actively developing minimum standard test methods and criteria for surface materials and patient care products to validate if they can be quickly and safely disinfected.
We need your help to continue this critical, life-saving work. Please contribute to our Spring Fundraiser today.
As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, we rely on donations to save lives. We need your help.
Please consider donating, becoming a member, or exploring corporate sponsorship through your workplace today.