Latest innovations in infection prevention and control

Prof. Didier Pittet, MD, MS, CBE

Director, Infection Control and WHO Collaborating Centre on Patient Safety, The University of Geneva Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine,

Lead Adviser, Clean Care is Safer Care programme, Health and Services Delivery, WHO Headquarter, Geneva, Switzerland.


What’s new in infection prevention and control (IPC)? Science and technology are well recognized and important drivers of change. Both acute and chronic care have improved due to the scientific discovery and new technologies designed to apply the discoveries in specific situations. The advancement of medical science has opened new practice areas for a diverse range of healthcare workers (HCWs) and continues to create opportunities at a never before experienced rate of change.

Although less than 50 years old as a specialty, IPC practice needs to adapt permanently to major healthcare changes. Some notable role transitions have occurred. For example, an expanded IC practitioner (ICP) role was probably the first, gradual reflection of the changes occurring at national and international levels. The demand for surveillance data and the rapid rise of pubic reporting is an important response to significant national trends. Technology to support a more sophisticated and complex approach to surveillance has followed the expanding data demand. The volume of tasks to be performed and associated institutional expectations have increased over time, but in its most basic aspects the ICP role remains essentially unchanged in terms of core functions: surveillance and reporting, regulatory and accreditation compliance, orientation and staff education, immunization programs, and periodic rounding. Above all, one of the major role of the modern ICP is to be a change agent, promoting HCWs behavioral change.

The lecture will be the occasion to review recent innovations in IPC to be considered in regards to the leading healthcare-associated infection types.

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