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Register now for the 5th International Course on Implementation in Infection Control!

Portrait of Dr Walter Zingg in a white shirt in his office, bookshelves in the back
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For the fifth time, the University of Geneva Hospitals and Imperial College, London organize the “International Course on Implementation in Infection Control” (10th – 11th October 2017; registration deadline is Satuarday, 30th September). An interview with Dr Walter Zingg (Senior Physician, Infection Control Programme, University of Geneva Hospitals) about the contents of the course.

In the short description of the course, I can read that “establishing best practice is challenging, and infection prevention and control professionals often struggle in the process of implementation”. What are the biggest hurdles in the process of establishing best practice?

Establishing best practices involves people with their individual backgrounds and their role within an organizational culture. This context must be taken into account. Top-down strategies often do not work. Successful strategies involve the staff to be trained at various levels and use creative ways to pass the message. The biggest barriers to success are often individuals in key positions or opinion leaders who are not convinced of the benefit of practice change.

What are the experiences of the last years? Could you give an example of a success story? Maybe one of a CEE region-country, because the Semmelweis Foundation is focusing on this region.

The course does not provide a ready-to-use checklist or cookbook how to implement a programme, rather it provides the background of implementation research, and in practical workshops participants learn to apply the principles to concrete implementation programmes. Participants in the past years valued the combination of background information and workshop. One participant said: “This is exactly the information I need for my daily routine!” Indeed, implementation often fails because infection prevention and control professionals often do not know how to address the various stakeholders in the hospital, and how to prioritize and check the process of implementation.

Do there exist comparable courses? And how the course in Geneva differs from similar courses?

This course has a sociological approach and there is no such course in the field of infection prevention and control in Europe.

What are the peculiarities of the this year’s course?

This year we add a talk about “Considering costs in programme implementation”. Costs are not the only competing factor determining success of an implementation. However, “cost” is a strong argument for or against any activity in healthcare. Thus, we need to have a realistic idea about costs of an implementation strategy.

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