The Next Five Years

The fact that environmental surfaces play a crucial role in the spread of microbes that cause deadly infection is realized. The question is, now what? How do you evaluate the surfaces issues holistically and scientifically to find solutions, and address the many aspects of the problem? It is a complicated and complex combination of things that create the perfect storm for cross-contamination and spread of these pathogens that can cause deadly infections.

The Healthcare Surfaces Summit, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, will be tackling the many aspects of the problem over the next five years. Not only are we looking at the types of surface materials being used in the construction of healthcare facilities but also how these products are combined in patient care areas, how human interaction facilitates the movement of pathogens and how existing cleaning and disinfection products and processes eliminate or support microbial growth.

The selection of surface materials for medical devices has also been a topic of discussion in recent years. Manufacturers provide great products along with disinfection/sterilization requirements without understanding what kind of infection control protocol healthcare professionals are required to follow.

Testing and validation criteria must be refined and developed, and this will be done by building a bridge of communication and understanding between all those currently trying to find ways validate and test products.  Success can't be found in a silo focused on only one aspect of the problem. The Summit brings everyone together on a neutral foundation to realize all aspects of the problem and to scientifically explore ideas and solutions.

Manufacturers will have open communication with healthcare professionals and industry experts to support them during the design phase of innovative products. Consistent testing and validation criteria can be developed in partnership with other professionals and regulatory agencies, so there is a consistent path to new product development and launch.

The Summit is a unique collaboration of healthcare professionals in all areas of expertise as well as product manufacturers, researchers and academic partners, and regulatory agencies. The Annual Summit event will be held August 21 & 22 in Bloomington, Minnesota. This is not an educational event with speakers presenting information. The Summit is a series of meetings between professionals to find solutions that will bring change and a reduction of healthcare-acquired infections.

missionLinda Lybert