Infection preventionists and laboratorians: Case studies on successful collaboration

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Efforts to reduce the incidence of hospital-acquired infection (HAI) remain a significant focus for health care facilities, particularly in this era of drug-resistant organisms. With as many as 1 in every 25 hospitalized patients acquiring an infection, the need to minimize the risk of HAIs is widely recognized as critical. Advances in the fields of biomedical technology, microbiology, pharmacology, and infection control and prevention, among others, have played a tremendous role in these efforts. However, evidence suggests that a key element in this battle against HAIs is missing: collaboration and communication between these groups in health care facilities—particularly in microbiology and infection prevention. The need for collaboration between infection preventionists (IPs) and laboratorians has been addressed in the literature; however, a survey conducted by the APIC and the American Society for Microbiology demonstrated that both IPs and laboratorians feel they lack the tools to engage in this collaboration. This article addresses strategies for a working partnership between IPs and laboratorians and reports 3 case studies on successful collaborations at major medical centers.

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