Welcome to Professional and Technical Services (PTS) – experts in chemical disinfection for infection prevention. Our goal is to educate and provide you the latest resources related to cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces, medical devices and hands. As specialists in disinfectant chemistries, microbiology, environmental cleaning and disinfection, facility assessments and policy and procedure creation we are dedicated to helping any person or facility who uses chemical disinfectants.

Our expertise is utilized by Infection Preventionists, Public Health Experts, First Responders, Dentists, Physicians, Nurses, Veterinarians, Aestheticians, Environmental Services professionals and janitorial product distributors to develop more sustainable cleaning and disinfection practices in North America.

Our commitment to providing chemical disinfectant education is more than business, it is a passion.

Friday, June 27, 2014

And the answer is COLLABORATION!

It's interesting that as we get older we revert back to our childish ways.  By that I mean as young children we had to be taught how to share, how to play nicely with one another and how if we work together two heads is better than one.   By definition, collaboration is the action of working with someone to produce or create something.  It can also mean to give help to an enemy and as my brother and I found out as young teens during the period where we really thought of each other as enemies, if we collaborated we could get up to no good without getting caught by our parents!  Collaboration was the key to our ability to not get caught when doing "things" that would otherwise get us into deep trouble. Collaboration was our key to success at being very, very good at being bad.

In the work force, companies are often organized in silos, this may help from a budgeting or reporting perspective and is generally based on areas of expertise.  However, silos like islands can breed the "it's mine" mentality and we forget about sharing or working collaboratively together towards what is best not just for our department or person but for the company as a whole.  We revert back to our tendencies as children where we didn't want to share.  It would appear after reading the paper published by Zoutman et al in AJIC titled "Working relationships of infection prevention and control programs and environmental services and associations with antibiotic-resistant organisms in Canadian acute care hospitals" that collaboration is the key to reducing HAIs.

Zoutman et al conducted a survey of Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) professionals at Canadian hospitals to assess the working relationship between IPAC and Environmental Services (EVS).  The survey assessed cleaning collaborations, staff training, hospital cleanliness and nosocomial MRSA, VRE and C. diff infection.  Based on the survey responses, 40% of the respondents did not feel the level of cleanliness in their hospitals was at the level it should or could be.  One third of the facilities surveyed felt that their EVS staff were not adequately trained even though IPAC provided training and education.  Of particular interest is that the same type of survey conducted where EVS managers responded believed that the level of cooperation and collaboration between IPAC and EVS was extensive and excellent which certainly highlights the fact that there is always two sides to every story!

That said, for most of you, I hope their conclusions are not that foreign.  A good working relationship that promotes and cooperation and collaboration between IPAC and EVS was associated with lower HAI rates. Of concern, at least to me, was that one-fifth of the respondents were from hospitals where IPAC and EVS did not collaborate on cleaning protocols. Having spent considerable time in the field working with both IPAC and EVS the reality is this is true.  Far too many times I have been in a meeting with EVS who did not want to involve IPAC as IPAC's decisions would cost them money they did not have. Other times IPAC wanted to control the decision process for what disinfectant products were to be used.

We know from numerous published studies that cleaning reduces the environmental burden of pathogens.  If we remove these pathogens from surfaces, we can limit transmission to our patients.  Cleaning saves lives and the health and well being of our patients should be the first consideration in any decision we make.  EVS are experts in cleaning and the use of chemicals. IPAC are experts in understanding how HAIs are transmitted and implementation of protocols that will limit the spread of disease. The truth of the matter is that a facility cannot have an effective Environmental Hygiene or Infection Prevention program without the cooperation and collaboration of IPAC and EVS.  It's time to break down the silos between EVS and IPAC because in the end it should always be about what is best for our patients.

Bugging Off!



Friday, June 20, 2014

Improving Infection Prevention through FREE Education!

Break out your swimsuits, fire up the BBQ, don your sunglasses and slather on some SPF 60 'cause summer is HERE!  Hopefully for many of you, summer also means vacation, relaxation and catching up on some reading for both enjoyment and professional development.   Over the past couple of years we have included book reviews as part of our summer blog line up.  This year I thought I would start off with a list of FREE Infection Prevention education sessions hosted this year by Webber Training.  These sessions are available as teleclasses where you can download the MP3 and listen on your iPad while following along with the PowerPoint presentation and sipping a beverage of your choice!

The Teleclass Education by Webber Training is an international lecture series on infection prevention and control topics. The objective is to bring the best possible infection prevention and control information; to the widest possible audience; with the fewest barriers to access.  For 2014 there have been 13 FREE education sessions so far and 3 more to come before the end of August.

Title of Teleclass
Human Error Theory - Can it help us understand and minimise the incidence and impact of outbreaks?
Dr. Evonne Curran, Glasgow University, Scotland
Innovation and Implementation Strategic Approaches to Reduce Catheter-Related Bacteraemia: The results of a European multicentre study
Dr. Walter Zingg, University of Geneva Hospitals, Switzerland
Eliminating Preventable Harm Through Building a Reliable Culture of Safety
Dr. Denise Murphy, VP Quality & Patient Safety, Main Line Health System, Pennsylvania
How to Prevent the Spread of Multiresistant Bacteria
Dr. Stephan Harbarth, University of Geneva Hospitals, Switzerland
Integrating Human Factors with Infection Prevention and Control
Jules Storr and Claire Kilpatrick, KS Healthcare Consulting, Dr. Neil Wigglesworth, Welsh Healthcare Associated Infection Program Team
Infection Prevention in High and Middle Income Countries
 Bruce Gamage, Provincial Infection Control Network, British Columbia, Canada, Dr. Pierre Parneix, Centre de Coordination de Lutte Contre les Infections Nosocomiales, Prof. Dr. Li Han, Center for Disease Control & Prevention of China
Antibacterial Efficacy of Atmospheric Pressure Non-Thermal Plasma
Dr. Brendan Glimore, Queen's University, Belfast
Highlights on Surgical Site Prevention: the New CDC Guidelines (and more)
Dr. Joseph Solomkin, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, USA
Are We Too Clean For Our Own Good? The Hygiene Hypothesis and its Implications for Hygiene, Lifestyle and Public Health
Dr. Sally Bloomfield, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK
World Hand Hygiene Day...Clean Your Hands - Stop the Spread of Drug-Resistant Germs
Prof. Didier Pittet, World Health Organization, Geneva
Too Posh to Wash
Martin Kiernan, Southport & Ormskirk NHS Trust, UK
Infection Control in Long Term Care
Tina McNamara, Queen Elizabeth II Health Science Centre, Nova Scotia, Canada, Jim Gauthier, Providence Care, Ontario, Canada
Infection Preventionist as a Leader: Redefining Communication Skills, Building Relationships and Breaking Down Silos
Catherine Adamson, University of California Davis Medical Center, USA, Laura Showers, Jefferson Health, USA
Healthcare-Associated Infections and Their Prevention After Extensive Flooding
Dr. Anucha Apisarnthanarak, Thammas at University Hospital, Thailand
Using Social Marketing to Improve Healthcare Quality
Jason Tetro, MI-SCI Consulting and Communications, Canada
Infection Prevention and Control - The Argentina Experience
Caroline Gluffré, Buenos Aires British Hospital, Argentina

For more information on Webber Training including a full list of the upcoming Infection Prevention and Control Teleclasses, please visit www.webbertraining.com.
I hope many of you will take the opportunity to listen to these FREE sessions and share with your colleagues! 

Bugging Off!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Disposables: Time and Money Savers!

We live in a society where we are inundated with messaging of how our excesses are ruining the environment:  50 million plastic water bottles are consumed each year worldwide; 500 billion plastic shopping bags are also consumed each year -if you joined them end on end they would circle the globe 4200 times!  I will admit, I used disposable diapers.  I was one of the many who contributed to the 3.5 million tons of disposable diapers sent to landfill each year....admittedly, I choose them over the reusable diapers I had started with due to time constraints, ease of use and well....my mom just plain refused to use them when she babysat and as a new mom, who is going to turn away free babysitting services!!

So it was with interest that I read an article published in AJIC by Wiemken et al titled "The value of ready-to-use disinfectant wipes: Compliance, employee time and costs".  As the article so correctly states "a challenge of the cleaning and disinfection (CD) process is ensuring that the product is mixed and used properly and that the traditional bucket method has many opportunities for breakdowns in compliance."  In my experience, truer words could not be stated and as Lee and I have discussed in previous blogs "Cotton - it absorbs more than just water", "Slippery When Wet - Proper Cloth Saturation is Key for Adequate Disinfection" and "The Top Disinfectant Offences for 2011" there truly is a plethora of areas where processes can break down or where interactions between the disinfectant and the wipe substrate was not correctly considered (or understood).

Weimken et al conducted a randomized trial with environmental services staff where participants were instructed to use either RTU wipes or the bucket method for cleaning and disinfection of 6 areas and then repeat the process with the opposite method.  Of interest was that the compliance score was highest for the RTU wipes and the time to complete the CD requirements was significantly lower than that for the bucket method.  The direct time-related cost savings for the RTU wipes was $38.58 per employee per day! 

While the study did not investigate cost savings from a product cost perspective, what I can confirm from our experience in conducting the "Is a Wipe a Wipe Study" is that non-woven disposable wipes take less chemical to saturate them to the appropriate level, provide a better metered release (meaning that the wipe evenly releases the disinfectant from the wipe over the surface being cleaned and disinfected) which leads to compliance with contact times (e.g. disinfection is more likely to be achieved).

Certainly there are some limitations to disposable wipes.  As noted in my introduction, our use of disposable products have a direct impact on the environment.  The unfortunate truth is these wipes will need to be disposed of in landfills, however, the use of disposable wipes also means we will decrease the need for laundering of reusable cloths so there can be a savings from laundering and utilities savings with a reduction in water and power needed to complete the laundering process.  I've not yet seen the math to determine which process would ultimately be the "greenest" but as this study concludes "the use of RTU Wipes improves compliance in the CD process which may lead to a reduction in the environmental bioburden which can lead to a reduction in HAIs”.  As we know, HAIs are costly.  They directly impact a healthcare facility's bottom line and they cut short the lives of far too many loved ones.

Bugging Off!


Friday, June 6, 2014

APIC 2014 - Warmth, Sunshine and perhaps some knowledge acquisition too!

Those of you in the infection prevention world will know that Saturday June 7th marks the opening of the Annual APIC (Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology) Conference. The APIC Conference is arguably the largest event of its kind!  This year there will be 5,000 attendees, including more than 2,500 clinical professionals, 100+ educational sessions, 300 poster presentations, countless networking opportunities and 200 exhibitors in the largest exhibit hall dedicated to infection prevention!  

For IPAC-Canada I reviewed the key posters and oral abstract presentations, but with 300 posters it was hard to pick the top 10!  Instead I will highlight the key presentations that will be taking place that relate to cleaning and disinfection and if you're not able to attend drop me a note as I'll be happy to share what I learned!  Here are the sessions I plan on attending:

1. Oral Abstracts on Sterilization and Disinfection

a. Reducing the Frequency of Immediate Use Steam Sterilization: A Strategic and Collaborative Approach

b. Solving the Healthcare Equipment Disinfection Challenge (can't wait to listen to this one!)

c. Decreasing Autoclave Sterilization in 34 Ambulatory Clinics: How One Health System Used a Multidisciplinary Team Approach to Develop Standardization

2. Surfaces Are the Bottom Line in Infection Control is discussing something near and dear to my heart "If a surface isn't cleanable, it does not matter what disinfectant you use!" The session is reviewing what  information is needed to select a proper surface and what cleaning and disinfectant products can be used on what surfaces.

3. Drilling Down on Infection Prevention in Dental Practices is looking at how to develop a program and what education, competencies and monitoring needs to be done.   I HATE dentists...one of those childhood trauma things....but still like to learn what needs to be done.  You never know...poor infection prevention practices could become a reasonable  argument for not going to the dentist!

4. Disinfection and Sterilization: What's New by Dr. William Rutala is always a must see.  This year he'll be discussing changes related to reprocessing of critical or semi-critical devices, technologies that will aid in reducing environmental contamination and new practices that will reduce the role of the environment in disease transmission.

5. Most Effective Methods for Eliminating Microorganisms in the Environment will talk about the level of bacterial contamination in the healthcare environment, the role of the environment in transmission and best practices for cleaning and disinfection.  The session is being given by Nancy Havill from Saint Raphael Campus (Yale-New Haven Hospital).  Nancy certainly knows her stuff when it comes to this topic!

6. Behind the OR Doors: What Every Infection Preventionist Needs to Know will look at the requirements for effective cleaning and disinfection in the OR. 

7. Environmental Cleaning Roles and Responsibilities: Going Where We've Never Gone Before is going to open Pandora's Box of who is responsible for cleaning the patient environment and patient equipment and how to define the roles.  It's about time is all I have to say! 

8. What's New with Healthcare Worker Attire and the Role of the Environment: SHEA and AHE Perspectives and Publications will be reviewing the evidence around contamination of HCWs attire and the perceptions of HCWs about their attire and its role in transmission as well as covering ways to improve current practices and outcomes with respect to environmental hygiene.

For those of you attending APIC I'd love to catch up or meet you for the first time!  I'll be tweeting so follow me @nicolecronkenny.  If you're not attending be sure to follow #APIC2014 to keep up with what is being said!  You can find me at booth #217!  Lee & I will be autographing our Talk Clean To Me Blog book!

Bugging Off!