APIC believes that collaboration is essential to achieving its vision of a world without infection. That’s why APIC launched the Building Bridges initiative, which aims to improve patient outcomes by building bridges between infection preventionists (IPs) and stakeholders across the continuum of care.

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) and the Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE) have partnered to strengthen the relationship between infection prevention and environmental services (EVS) to improve patient outcomes and reduce infections. The joint educational campaign, titled “Clean Spaces, Healthy Patients: Leaders in Infection Prevention and Environmental Services working together for better patient outcomes,” is part of APIC’s Building Bridges initiative and supported through an education grant from Clorox Healthcare. The campaign incorporates educational resources, training materials, and other solutions to help infection prevention and EVS professionals combat the spread of health care associated infections (HAIs).

The decision to focus on environmental services and infection prevention came about as health care professionals are beginning to pay more attention to environmental services and its role in infection prevention and infection transmission.

To determine the focus of the educational campaign, 2,000 members of APIC and AHE were surveyed to determine how they collaborate within their respective health care institutions in their daily work to protect patients. The Clean Spaces, Healthy Patients survey was conducted from August 8-20, 2011, with 2,011 respondents (12.6 percent response rate). Survey results were presented at the AHE 2011 Annual Conference in Kissimmee, Fla.

Some of the key findings were:

  • More than half (51 percent) of the 2,000-plus AHE/APIC survey respondents (79 percent of whom work in hospitals) found it difficult to locate useful resources about proper cleaning and disinfection.
  • About six in 10 respondents believed educational resources on cleaning, disinfection, and infection prevention and control should be directed to hospital executives as well as to physicians.
  • Almost nine in 10 are interested in hearing how other facilities have created successful IP-EVS partnerships (88 percent).

Because the survey found that infection preventionists and EVS professionals believe there is a need for additional education and resources to facilitate successful prevention of HAIs, APIC and AHE are collaborating to ensure that the necessary information is disseminated. To help meet these educational goals, APIC and AHE have convened a clinical advisory panel of the nation’s leading infection prevention and environmental services professionals to assemble educational material to strengthen the relationships between IPs and EVS.

The Clean Spaces, Healthy Patients clinical advisory council consists of:

  • William Rutala, PhD, MPH, CIC,lead clinical advisor for APIC
  • Ruth Carrico, PhD, RN, FSHEA, CIC, lead clinical advisor for AHE
  • Marita Nash, MBA, CHESP
  • Kathy Roye-Horn, RN, CIC
  • Linda Dickey, RN, MPH, CIC
  • David Weber, MD, MPH

The main goal of the Clean Spaces, Healthy Patients project is to deliver quality educational tools and resources. Since January 2012, the project has launched free educational programs, such as live events and seminars, CE-accredited webinars, as well as a collection of useful administrative documents. Various educational resources were also delivered at the APIC 2012 Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas, June 4-6 and will be made available afterward free to all APIC and AHE members.

To explore all of Clean Space, Healthy Patients educational tools and resources including the newly debuted “Clean Teams: Successful Collaborations through the Eyes of the Participants,” visit www.apic.org/ CleanSpaces.

To find out more about the Building Bridges initiatives, please visit www.apic.org/BuildingBridges.

If you want to get involved in this project, please send an email to buildingbridges@apic.org.