APIC 2015 National Conference Roundup

By on 5:32 AM

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, president of Infection Control Consulting Services, attended the 2015 annual APIC conference held in Nashville, Tenn., from June 27-29.

The conference included many workshops, concurrent sessions, "meet the expert" sessions and a full day of pre-conference workshops. It was reported that roughly 4,600 professionals attended the conference.

One of the meeting highlights was a session attended by Ms. Segal featuring a presentation by Sharon Parrillo, BSN, RN, CIC, assistant director of infection prevention at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Somerset, N.J.. Ms. Parrillo spoke candidly about the frustration experienced by the infection prevention industry of mandatory reporting that has shifted infection preventionists from the bedside to the office, almost fulltime.

Ms. Parillo presented research data that showed she spent approximately "5 hours and 8 minutes a day to collect data and report it to the CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN)," based on a five-day work week.

According to an APIC news release, infection preventionists at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset calculated the amount of time necessary to review lab data and complete reports for bloodstream infections, urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, MRSA infections and Clostridium difficile infections to the NHSN. Infection preventionists at hospitals across the country are responsible for analyzing lab reports and reporting infection data to the NHSN database, which is used for Medicare payment determination by CMS. 

"Healthcare-associated infection (HAI) reporting exposes problems, drives improvements, and allows for benchmarking against national targets," said Ms. Parrillo, according to the release. "But without adequate staffing, the burden of reporting takes time away from infection prevention activities that protect patients at the bedside. We are fortunate that we have two infection preventionists on staff at our hospital, but many community hospitals have only one staff person dedicated to infection control. This analysis didn’t even take into account the time necessary to perform state and local HAI reporting, which many facilities are also required to do.”

Ms. Segal provides many presentations throughout the year to various sectors of healthcare. She frequently cites the shift toward increased data reporting, over the course of the past decade in particular, which has impacted infection prevention rounds, monitoring and mentoring.

Infection preventionists including Ms. Parrillo and Ms. Segal stress the importance of data and accuracy of reporting, but the reporting of infections at the expense of preventing them is a very difficult situation for these professionals to accept.

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS). Phenelle has more than 30 years' experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes and other organizations with implementing and maintaining an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission, AAAHC, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies; respond to situations of noncompliance; and improve the processes for reducing risk.