Walter Zingg , 1 , Julie Storr 2 , Benjamin J. Park 3 , Raheelah Ahmad 4 , Carolyn Tarrant 5 , Enrique Castro-Sanchez 4 , Sara Tomczyk 2 , Claire Kilpatrick 2 , Benedetta Allegranzi 2 , Denise Cardo 3 , Didier Pittet 1 , the 2017 Geneva IPC-Think Tank
28 May 2019
Around 5–15% of all hospital patients worldwide suffer from healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), and years of excessive antimicrobial use in human and animal medicine have created emerging antimicrobial resistance (AMR). A considerable amount of evidence-based measures have been published to address these challenges, but the largest challenge seems to be their implementation.
In June 2017, a total of 42 experts convened at the Geneva IPC-Think Tank to discuss four domains in implementation science: 1) teaching implementation skills; 2) fostering implementation of IPC and antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) by policy making; 3) national/international actions to foster implementation skills; and 4) translational research bridging social sciences and clinical research in infection prevention and control (IPC) and AMR.
Although neglected in the past, implementation skills have become a priority in IPC and AMS. They should now be part of any curriculum in health care, and IPC career paths should be created. Guidelines and policies should be aligned with each other and evidence-based, each document providing a section on implementing elements of IPC and AMS in patient care. International organisations should be advocates for IPC and AMS, framing them as patient safety issues and emphasizing the importance of implementation skills. Healthcare authorities at the national level should adopt a similar approach and provide legal frameworks, guidelines, and resources to allow better implementation of patient safety measures in IPC and AMS. Rather than repeating effectiveness studies in every setting, we should invest in methods to improve the implementation of evidence-based measures in different healthcare contexts. For this, we need to encourage and financially support collaborations between social sciences and clinical IPC research.
Experts of the 2017 Geneva Think Tank on IPC and AMS, CDC, and WHO agreed that sustained efforts on implementation of IPC and AMS strategies are required at international, country, and hospital management levels, to provide an adequate multimodal framework that addresses (not exclusively) leadership, resources, education and training for implementing IPC and AMS. Future strategies can build on this agreement to make strategies on IPC and AMS more effective.