From clinical governance to new product design: collaborative tools for identifying problems and disruptive solutions in infection prevention and control

Madeleine Clegg 

Technology Commercialisation Associate, Nanosonics, Sydney, NSW, Australia


Infection prevention and control (IP&C) in the healthcare setting is a shared responsibility and requires a system of clinical governance to continuously monitor and improve outcomes. There are parallels between the strategic plans and systems implemented in facilities for cost-effective IP&C, and the methodologies used by manufacturers in new product development to design commercially viable and clinically relevant solutions.

Presented are some practical tools that can be used by infection control professionals (ICPs) to manage challenges in the clinical setting in an innovative way. These tools can be separated into two phases; problem finding and problem solving. Problem finding involves understanding the size and nature of identified needs, extracting their root cause, and assessing them from both a clinical and cost perspective to determine the priority for investing resources. Problem solving involves collaboratively brainstorming around these needs to identify more effective or completely new solutions, and prioritising those with the best business case to put forward.

The result is a set of cost-effective and valuable interventions, potentially involving new clinical programs or technologies, and a documented trail of decisions, from initial conversations through to the final outcome. When these tools are applied by manufacturers in collaboration with healthcare professionals, manufacturers can ensure new products are designed to answer true unmet needs, with the appropriate data required to inform purchasing decisions.

Approaching infection control from different angles may lead to disruptive interventions that change the face of patient care.

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