Reflections from the APIC 2018 Annual Conference

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APIC 2018

Another year, another APIC Conference on the books. It is hard to believe, but this year SwipeSense celebrated its 5th anniversary of attending the Annual Conference. We have come a long way since our first time APIC conference – we were a much smaller team at the time in a 10x10 booth, extremely excited to share our story with our healthcare heroes.

Years later, while we are a bigger team (and have a much bigger booth!), we are just as excited to connect with some of the most amazing people who work in healthcare.

The Keynote

APIC always packs a treat with each annual speaker, and this year was no different. Alicia Cole, whom we usually see acting as a doctor on TV, shared her personal close call with a hospital-acquired infection: necrotizing fasciitis. 

Alicia’s near-fatal case of a flesh-eating disease turned her entire midsection into something out of a horror movie and her two-day hospital stay turned into: one month in ICU, two months in the hospital, six additional surgeries, near amputation of her leg, a year and two months of twice-a-day home health care for dressing changes, five months of daily hyperbaric oxygen chamber treatments and three years of treatment at a wound care center for an open, draining abdomen. Six years later, she is still in physical therapy and undergoing pelvic floor rehabilitation.

These stories are unfortunately all too common, and it was a stark reminder for all of us about why we do what we do. By and large, infection control is a thankless job – no one leaves the hospital and stops by the Infection Prevention office to thank them for protecting them during their care. Being at APIC was an opportunity to give a sincere thank you to everyone who works tirelessly to keep their patients safe.

Patient safety is no accident. It is strategic and it is deliberate.
— Alicia Cole

The Trends

After seeing this trend grow over the years, we can safely say one thing: pen and paper data collection will soon be a thing of the past. There were more demonstrations, success stories and interest in electronic hand hygiene monitoring than ever before.

Virtually every part of an Infection Preventionist’s job regarding data collection and analysis is being automated by a technology solution. As a result, the infection prevention team can focus on interventions, culture change and organizational behavior – the aspects of their work that create the most impact.

Hand hygiene monitoring is a simple example: previously it took dozens of hours per month to collect and analyze compliance data, with time for only a few meetings addressing hand hygiene behavior change. Sensor systems like SwipeSense are changing this for the better – the entire process is automated up to the intervention, and IP teams can now fully shift their attention to those impactful interventions and improving hygiene compliance.

Next Steps

We are always excited to learn more about potential collaborators and how we can help Infection Preventionists create an even greater impact in healthcare. There were hundreds of hospitals eager to set up demonstrations of our system and a handful of existing partners interested in deepening their relationships with SwipeSense. Most importantly, we were able to connect with world-class researchers to publish our findings and impact hospitals have created with our system. Together with our APIC community we can hopefully make Hospital Acquired Infections like Alicia’s a thing of the past.

Here is to another successful APIC, and many more APIC anniversaries in the future!

 
  “Throwback” photo of SwipeSense at APIC 2013

“Throwback” photo of SwipeSense at APIC 2013