The importance of being prepared in infection prevention and control is something that has been emphasised in the last 12 to 18 months, showing how important IPC is to the running of Trusts and to public health, with many lessons learned on what improvements can be made going forward.
It is something Chine Eyetan, ICNET Clinical Safety Officer, and Pharmacist Consultant at Baxter Healthcare, was keen to discuss ahead of the NHE365 event on 23 June.
Mrs Eyetan spoke to NHE from the perspective of a supplier of technology to the NHS – about the main focus of her talk. She will be on the first Leader’s Debate discussion for The future of infection prevention.
The main areas Mrs Eyetan will focus on are:
- More board level and executive leadership engagement
- More investment in digital tools for real-time infectious disease surveillance to strengthen and enhance detection and response capabilities
- More integration of data to allow co-ordinated IPC across multiple facilities, care settings, boundaries and geographies.
She said that the pandemic has been a catalyst to raise the profile of infection prevention and control among senior and executive leaders within Trusts and in public health bodies.
She explained: “Some of our customers have said to us that they experienced more interest from a broader range of senior leaders beyond the typical board-level IPC advocate, the Director for Infection Prevention and Control (DIPC), including the CEOs of Trusts, directors of operations, and directors of estates. They were also more involved and interested in the data that informs the state of infection prevention and control. So, that’s one of the things we believe we would see more of in the future, with engagement from even a broader range of senior leaders.”
Another important factor discussed was the importance of digital tools for infectious disease surveillance activities.
“We are highlighting that there needs to be investment now in technology for ongoing clinical surveillance because digital clinical surveillance enables timely generation and dissemination of data, so that the health responders can respond adequately and quickly.”
Mrs Eyetan also highlighted the need for coherence when it comes to communicating IPC data because of the role leaders have in conveying information to an audience, whether it’s the employees of a Trust or whether it’s at a public health level, to the community, or the population.
She commented: “Leaders have to understand and be confident in the data that they are using to communicate. Timely and validated data gives them an insight into what is going on in the organisation and gives them confidence when they need to make and take critical decisions. So, there is that interest for them in understanding the data that informs the state of IPC.”
As the Clinical Safety Officer for ICNET - a clinical surveillance technology platform - Mrs Eyetan provides clinical leadership for the product portfolio and leads safety in the design, development and implementation of the software products in the platform. The products pull together relevant data from different IT systems and presents it as information for the relevant healthcare professionals including IPC users, so at a hospital level and at a population level, they can identify, act on, and report on critical issues.
Mrs Eyetan touched on the recent calls to expand the IPC workforce, and how although there was a need for investment in human resource, having the right tools – digital tools – to support the expanding workforce and increasing workload would in turn drive greater efficiencies while delivering better outcomes for patients, staff and the public.
She commented: “There are calls to expand the IPC workforce both at the local and national levels, but we still need the right tools to support the expanding workforce, and what we are saying is that as their workload increases, a good amount of what they have to do is around infectious disease surveillance. Providing the right technology for clinical surveillance activities is key to ensuring that we are adequately prepared for any future threats.”
Join Mrs Eyetan and many other healthcare professionals at NHE365’s Infection Prevention & Decontamination event on 23 June. You can register for the event here.