Infection preventionists “raced” to Indianapolis, Indiana to attend the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) Annual Conference which was held in-person for the first time since 2019. The conference was abuzz as 2,800 infection preventionists (IPs) celebrated being able to see each other’s masked faces in person once again. For many attendees, the conference was the first time out of their bubble since the COVID-19 pandemic began. An additional 1,500 attendees were able to join and participate virtually. The conference featured stellar keynote speakers, an impressive exhibitor hall, and many knowledgeable session presenters. One of these was Clorox Healthcare’s own infection preventionist, Doe Kley, who shared cleaning and disinfection essentials for long-term care settings.
This year APIC celebrated its 50th Anniversary. Founded in 1972, APIC was organized to bring professionals together, create opportunities to collaborate and network, provide education, and to drive guidance for best practices in infection prevention and control. This year’s APIC conference delivered and will continue to drive forward the important work of creating a safer world well into the future.
New Attendees from Clorox Healthcare
In attendance at this year’s APIC conference for the first time were two Research and Development (R&D) Scientists from Clorox Healthcare; Fanny Frausto Arellano, Ph.D. and Camile Dematos Gomes. Fanny is a lab chemist focused on formulation development for cleaning and disinfection products and Camile is heavily involved in product and process development with expertise in disinfecting wipes. For a new and fresh perspective of the APIC conference, I asked these two R&D scientists to share a bit about their experiences, including their thoughts and insights.
Question: As a first-time APIC Conference attendee, what was your overall impression?
Camile: The conference was comprised of some of the brightest and most passionate minds in the field of infection prevention. Everyone I spoke with was knowledgeable and experienced but still came with the desire and eagerness to learn more. It was encouraging to see how we, as an industry, are working together to provide solutions to achieve the same goal of creating a healthier, safer lives for all.
Fanny: The conference was great and provided me an opportunity to better understand the wants, needs, and challenges facing the IP community. The conference shared the latest research and industry information with conference goers.
Question: As an R&D scientist, did you have any big “aha” moments?
Camile: The process of how IPs and facilities select cleaning and disinfection products stood out to me. I came to recognize that evaluating products for potential use in a hospital or clinic is extensive and complicated. A better understanding of how IPs look at products, the metrics used to evaluate them, and why this is important, has helped me realize opportunities for future R&D work to support equipment and device compatibility.
Fanny: I learned that even with a big push from IPs, it may still take facilities a long time to fully implement a new cleaning and disinfection product. I heard from IPs the need for products that are easy to use, surface compatible, and affordable. While these attributes are ideal, it’s important for IPs to understand the consideration and possible tradeoffs involved. For example, it may be possible to have better surface compatibility, but this may lengthen contact times.
Question: What were some major themes you noticed throughout APIC 2022?
- The need to simplify infection prevention guidance and processes for IPs and healthcare staff.
- More enhanced training and support needed to IPs.
- Greater focus on setting and working towards achieving long-term progress and results.
- Staff are tired, over-worked, and understaffed but still accomplishing great work.
- Need to focus on making up for lost progress and gaining more traction against rising HAIs.
Question: What is one big takeaway about Infection Prevention that we can all remember?
Camile: We must strive to make the right thing to do the easy thing to do.
Fanny: Wash your hands, disinfect surfaces, and don’t touch your face!
Infection preventionists have the difficult job of juggling many responsibilities and areas of expertise. The APIC conference demonstrated the incredible efforts of IPs and gave our scientists a glimpse into the challenges they as well as opportunities for the future. Congratulations to the APIC organization on a successful event this year and thanks to you, IPs, for the incredible work that you do. As a proud platinum plus sponsor of APIC, we at Clorox Healthcare look forward to continuing to support and help move the needle towards better healthcare outcomes and a safer future.