Two years ago, Dr. Anitha Vijayan, Professor of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, became part of a collaborative effort of the ASN and CDC to eliminate infections in dialysis facilities – an initiative meant to be attained within three years.
Now, two-thirds of the way into the project, Dr. Vijayan reports that, “It is going well! Our primary goals were to raise awareness regarding infections in hemodialysis facilities, review potential lapses in infection control practices, and collaborate with various stakeholders in preventing infections in dialysis patients. We have had significant success in getting our message out – whether it is through journal articles, webinars or presentations at regional and national meetings.”
As co-chair of the State and Federal Healthcare-associated Infection (HAI) workgroup for the Nephrologists Transforming Dialysis Safety Project (NTDS), Vijayan has been helping educate the dialysis community about how infections are detected, reported and managed, along with members of the three other workgroups (Current and Emerging Threats; Quality, Assessment, Improvement and Education; and Training Programs).
In the first year of the project, NTDS developed a roadmap to guide the efforts of each workgroup. It launched an educational series to reduce central venous catheter use, debuted the NTDS website, and established a presence at the 2016 ASN’s Kidney Week, where the first focus group session and an annual session were offered.
The NTDS initiative also began building its social media presence; ASN’s Facebook page includes posts on the NTDS Town Hall, links to Kidney News Online articles, etc., and the hashtags #ASN_NTDS and #TargetZeroInfections can now be found on Twitter.
In addition to other key areas of focus, an educational campaign on the importance of hand hygiene was instituted in the second year of the program. Also continued were community forums such as webinars, in-person meetings, and conferences to educate nephrologists on the key role of physician leadership.
As part of the education initiative, Dr. Vijayan presented Infections in the Hemodialysis Unit at Washington University’s Renal Grand Rounds in April 2017. In March 2018, Vijayan participated in the project’s Targeting Zero Infections webinar series. She was one of three speakers discussing Infectious Disease Reporting: State Requirements & Resources. The webinar used a “real-world” infectious outbreak case to discuss what reporting actions are required when an infectious disease outbreak occurs in a dialysis facility, and what must be done to contain an outbreak once it has begun. The other webinars are: Targeting Zero Infections: Where Do We Begin? MDROs and Antimicrobial Stewardship in the Dialysis Facility; and Environmental Decontamination.
NTDS also launched an infection prevention series in the April 2018 issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN). Dr. Vijayan was first author of one of the five articles (one Feature article and four Perspective articles) to provide important information on infections and their prevention in patients undergoing hemodialysis. The articles were:
100% Use of Infection Control Procedures in Hemodialysis Facilities – Call to Action (Anitha Vijayan and John M. Boyce)
Urgent: Stop Preventable Infections Now (Allan J. Collins and Alan S. Kliger)
Addressing the Problem of Multidrug-Resistant Organisms in Dialysis (Erika M.C. D’Agata)
What We Learned from Ebola (John M. Boyce and Jeffrey L. Hymes)
Dr. Vijayan also penned a feature published in Kidney News titled Promoting Productive Relationships between Nephrologists and Public Health Professionals.
The final year of the NTDS program will continue to promote education as well as maintain a significant presence at ASN Kidney Week, held this year in San Diego, CA. NTDS will present two events: the NTDS Luncheon Focus Group (Thursday, October 25, 2018, from 12:30 – 1:45 PM) and for the third year, NTDS will conduct an annual session titled NTDS Annual Session, 21st Century Killers – How Nephrologists Can Fight Back on Friday, October 26, 2018, from 2:00 – 4:00 PM.
The NTDS Progress Report for 2017 and plans for the final year of the initiative can be found here.