As an active member of the healthcare field I have always stressed the importance of having safe working conditions for all employees as well as for the patients. This includes not only having a clean environment but also properly protecting myself, as well as clients, from infectious diseases. Globalization has been a factor involved in the rapid spread of infectious diseases which have in return impacted working conditions in the healthcare field.
Over time, it has become harder and harder to use proper infection control techniques and keep a safe working environment. This problem led to an interdisciplinary collaboration in 2011 between infection control researchers and occupational health workers in three continents to develop information and communication technology (ICT) tools to better train healthcare workers on the topic. This collaboration also led to the realization that we needed better workplace inspections so a workplace audit tool was also developed to supplement worker questionnaires and the ICT. Originally, this movement started in Canada but then other teams joined in from South and Central America and South Africa. With so much input and knowledge coming from infection control researchers, environmental health teams, and occupational health workers from different countries the toolkit was improved substantially. This international collaboration led to producing tools such as guidelines, online and face-to-face training modules, checklists, research materials, frameworks, and a health information system to protect the health and safety of patients and healthcare workers.
Despite this being an older interdisciplinary success story, it is still incredibly relevant to the healthcare field today.
I have actually been through similar training programs and have used tools such as the ICT in order to expand my knowledge on safety and infection control. My personal experience with a similar program was positive and I feel was very beneficial, especially for those who may not know as much about infection control or just need a refresher. Although, the healthcare field is always changing and I feel at this point we may have started to grow out of this solution. Despite healthcare workers being taken through these information simulations I have seen very poor infection control methods used in the last few years. I have seen employees take these useful tools as a joke or completely ignore them to use a technique that is quicker. As our world grows bigger and bigger we are going to have to continue to collaborate and integrate our knowledge from the different disciplines to solve healthcare problems such as this one, but also reinvent and change things up when we start to see a decline in its effectiveness.