What Is the Clean Hospitals Initiative? CloroxPro’s Doe Kley and Dr. Didier Pittet Discuss the Formula for Limiting HAIs

Doe Kley, Infection Prevention Fellow within Clorox Healthcare’s Clinical and Scientific Affairs Team, recently sat down with Professor Didier Pittet of the University of Geneva, Switzerland and Chair of Clean Hospitals to discuss new research, Clean Hospital’s mission and how healthcare professionals can limit the spread of healthcare-associated infections.

With these topics top of mind worldwide, play the video above or keep reading to hear their thoughts.

Please note this is an abridged version of the interview edited for brevity and clarity.

What Is Clean Hospitals?

Doe Kley: Hello, everyone. My name is Doe Kley. I’m an infection prevention fellow with Clorox Healthcare’s Clinical and Scientific Affairs Team. I’m a little bit starstruck today because I’m joined by Dr. Didier Pittet to discuss his current work with Clean Hospitals, all the way from Geneva, Switzerland. Welcome, Dr. Pittet. Would you like to introduce yourself and the Clean Hospitals Initiative?

Professor Didier Pittet: Thank you, Doe. It’s a pleasure to be with you today. I’m Professor Didier Pittet from the University of Geneva in Switzerland, and we started the Clean Hospitals initiatives several years ago as a way to partner together to improve patient safety and reduce healthcare associated infections and patient harm in hospitals.

Leveraging the Clean Hands Initiative Framework  

Doe Kley: That is awesome. I know that you led the team with the World Health Organization that revamped the hand hygiene guidance. I’m really excited to see what Clean Hospitals accomplishes. I’m curious, was there something that you learned from your hand hygiene work that led you to this next initiative?

Professor Didier Pittet: Absolutely. In fact, the Clean Hospitals Initiative is built on the model that we use for the so-called Clean Hands initiatives or the Clean Hands Save Lives.

First, we did a review of the literature. Is healthcare environmental hygiene important? The answer is yes. You could look at our systematic review that we published a few years ago, that revisited all the studies in the literature, and we paid attention in this review to exclude studies where hand hygiene was promoted. Why? Because we know that if you succeed at promoting hand hygiene, then it would be difficult to monitor the impact of improving healthcare environmental hygiene in reducing infections.

But this systematic review was the first deep research of the Clean Hospital Initiative. [It] was there to help raise awareness about the importance of the role of healthcare environmental hygiene. Then we developed instruments that we already developed for hand hygiene. You probably know the hand hygiene self-assessment framework that we developed in 2009, and we launch globally all over the world.

We have been developing the healthcare environmental hygiene self-assessment framework that we will be launching at the next Clean Hospitals Day worldwide on the 20th of October this year. These are instruments that we used for hand hygiene promotion that we are using in the model of the Clean Hospitals Initiative.

Doe Kley: That’s awesome. I’m super excited to get my hands on that self-assessment and share it with some of our customers. I am very familiar with the hand hygiene assessment [and I] used it at my last hospital. It’s really incredible to hear about this impactful and inspiring work. Thank you for tackling this important patient safety topic.

The Recipe for Environmental Hygiene

Doe Kley: Beyond what you just shared, I also know that Clean Hospitals champions high-quality products, processes for environmental hygiene. Can you talk just a little bit about this? For example, what does your research show as it relates to the importance of environmental hygiene and patient outcomes or HAIs?

Professor Didier Pittet: If you succeed at implementing a healthcare environmental model program that improves the practices by using not only the right product but the right procedures and sometimes the right people — or training the right people to use the right procedures — you could demonstrate a very significant impact on healthcare associated infections, but also on the transmission of multi resistance, multi resistance and bacteria or multi resistant organism.

This was very revealing of the importance of a multimodal approach for improving healthcare environmental hygiene, something that we know very well in infection control. That’s what Clean Hospitals is working on in order to spread this strategy all over the world, using the best partners from all around the world.

Doe Kley: Thank you for that. And I can very much resonate with the multi-modal strategy, especially when you touched on antimicrobial resistant pathogens. We put so much focus and emphasis on antimicrobial stewardship, [it’s] very, very important, but I think we overlook that a clean environment is equally as important. I also think that we are not entering — I think we are in the post antimicrobial era. So even more important now, more than ever before. Thank you for this work and thank you for touching on that.

Ready-to-Use Disinfectants

Doe Kley:  Do you have thoughts on ready to use disinfectants in terms of patient safety and [the disinfecting] process?

Professor Didier Pittet: Yeah, of course. The [Clean Hospitals] strategy is a worldwide strategy. So of course, the recommendations may vary from one region of the world to another. Not that bacteria are changing, but that resources are not the same. Sometimes we have only resources that are very simple, but at least we need to make sure that the procedures, the process of cleaning is at the top.

Staff Training

Professor Didier Pittet: That’s why we are always adapting the strategy to the level of care and to the resources that are available. Today, we have many approaches to clean the environment. The most important is how are you doing it: with what product, with what technique, and who is doing it. Making sure that people who are performing those processes understand those processes very well. But we need to adapt the technique. The education should be adapted to anybody applying the technique. For us at Clean Hospitals, this is extremely important.

Clean Hospitals Self-Scoring System

Doe Kley: I could not agree more. You know, at Clorox Healthcare, we are huge advocates for compliance, effective [and] efficient cleaning and disinfection. We know it starts with education, training and competency. I think competency is the piece that often gets overlooked. Do you have any thoughts on approach towards achieving competency in our in our cleaning staff?

Professor Didier Pittet: Yes. We have developed a scoring system that will be launched at ICPIC, the Congress in Geneva, but then launched worldwide on Clean Hospitals Day. When you look at the scoring system, it is appreciating. It’s a self-scoring system where you can appreciate the level of your institution. How ready is your hospital? Is your healthcare institution able to have [the] environmental hygiene program adapted to your institution?

In the scoring system, we are looking at the product, we are looking at the process, we are looking at the education. Of course, all of these help us to actually redirect or help the way people can teach, the way people are learning, the way people are implementing. As you know today, infection prevention and control implementation is extremely important.

I know at Clorox you are making sure the implementation of the good product and the good process is a reality and that’s extremely important for this. You can use all sorts of techniques, but the most important is to make sure that you are working on the way to implement the best strategies and the best product.

What to Expect at ICPIC

Doe Kley: Perfect. I’m sure that these topics are going to be a focus at this year’s International Consortium for Prevention and Infection Control, or the ICPIC conference that you mentioned. Can you share a little bit about Clean Hospitals presence at ICPIC.

Professor Didier Pittet: Clean Hospitals partners [Clorox] will be at the Clean Hospitals booth, where we will show our activities [and] promote our next activities. We will speak about the activities around upcoming Clean Hospitals days.

We will share about our knowledge in the field of healthcare environmental hygiene. There will also be a Clean Hospitals symposium, because at ICPIC we want people to understand the Clean Hospital initiatives and we ask our best international experts from around the world to come and deliver a lecture. We will also have four poster sessions in the field of healthcare and hygiene.

We will have more than 200 posters just in these fields of hand hygiene, healthcare environmental hygiene, from more than 60 countries around the world. Last but not least, Clean Hospitals partners will be there to share and share and share, which is so important for us today in our field.

Doe Kley: I couldn’t agree more. It is so exciting to see the increase in activity in the science and the protocols that go into environmental planning and disinfection. I think Clean Hospitals has already started to make a great impact there. Thank you for helping to elevate the hard work. Do you have any final thoughts that you’d like to share with us all Dr. Pettit?

Professor Didier Pittet: We have been saving lives all over the world with the Clean Hands initiative — between 5 and 8 million lives every year around the world — but we know that we can save even more lives. [It’s] so good to have partners like Clorox, among the best partners around the world, being with us in this Clean Hospitals initiative; it’s a pleasure and a privilege.

Doe Kley: Thank you. That privilege is all ours. Thank you for inviting us in.