Healthcare Business Today: Transformative Role of the Infection Preventionist
Healthcare Business Today recently published an article written by PDI Clinical Science Liason Marc-Oliver Wright, MT(ASCP), MS, CIC, FAPIC, entitled, Transformative Role of the Infection Preventionist, which discusses how the role of an Infection Preventionist has changed over the years and how the pandemic has impacted their role and shifted it.
Excerpt from the article:
Initially, IPs (then termed infection control nurses and later infection control professionals or ICPs) were nearly exclusively nurses and often charged with policy development, education, and outbreak investigation/management. Surveillance of healthcare-associated infections (HAI) was codified with the advent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance (NNIS) System in 1970 and took on greater prominence in the early 2000s in response to The Institute of Medicine’s landmark 1999 report “To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System.”
With the adoption of pay-for-performance standards and financial implications for HAIs, surveillance and ultimately the goal of preventing these adverse outcomes elevated the role of the IP in acute care. Simultaneously, the educational and professional background of IPs diversified to include allied health (medical technologists, respiratory and physical/occupational therapists, etc.) and public health professionals, and the necessity and value of infection prevention in non-acute healthcare settings gained prominence.