According to a survey released by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) and the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), greater collaboration between lab professionals and infection preventionists may hold the key to more effective management of some healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).
Most of the infection preventionists (IPs) surveyed indicated that they need results for MRSA screening tests within 12 hours to initiate the necessary precautions; however, MRSA cultures typically take 24 to 48 hours to complete.
The survey identified two factors that could be addressed to help resolve the discrepancy and reduce HAIs: the need for increased communication between IPs and lab professionals, and the lack of tools and resources for training and educating all healthcare personnel.
"These survey results indicate that there are areas for improvement in the relationship between IPs and lab professionals to ensure the best patient outcomes," said Lance Peterson, MD, clinical advisor to ASM, director of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Research at NorthShore University Health System (Evanston, IL), and clinical professor at the University of Chicago. "In collaboration, APIC and ASM have the ability to improve communication between the laboratory and infection prevention and facilitate a more rapid response to HAIs."
IPs and lab professionals surveyed indicated that they would value assistance in relationship building between the two groups (70 percent), hearing about other facilities' experience in creating partnerships (83 percent), more education about best practices (78 percent), and resources for educating themselves and other staff (62 percent). Only 63 percent said their facility has effective infrastructure in place for training and educating staff about HAIs.
The survey is a first step in the collaboration between APIC and ASM to reduceinfections and improve patient outcomes. As part of APIC's Building Bridges initiatives, the IP Col-lab-oration Project aims to improve patient outcomes by bridging the communication gap between IPs and lab professionals, augmenting tools and resources currently available, and educating healthcare personnel. For more information, visit www.apic.org/labproject