How and Why is #ICPIC2019 a #PatientIncluded conference?

Demonstration by Pr. Pittet of 5-step handwashing

We are honored to present to our readers this special focus on the first “patient-included” edition of ICPIC conference, under the leadership of founder Professor Didier Pittet.

Why is this newsworthy? Because it is so rare! When annual  congresses for physicians first came into being, not only the attendees, but the speakers as well were physicians; even today, this is the case in the vast majority of these conferences. We don’t know where and when a professional medical congress first invited patients to attend and to speak.  Fortunately, the idea that patients should be an integral part of a medical congress about …. helping patients (!), while not yet widely implemented, is at least no longer one that can be publicly shot down.

So, why did ICPIC choose to become patient-included? As Professor Pittet explained to us, “Patient participation and empowerment in infection prevention and control has been a matter of reflection and research for many years in different part of the world. Encouraging patients and relatives to remind physicians, nurses, and healthcare staff to clean their hands during patient care practices is part of the World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for Hand Hygiene in HealthCare from the very first draft proposed in 2006, and initiatives and researches have been conducted on several occasions with, at times, good results. These efforts and results have been used within the framework of the “Patients to Patient Safety” initiative, part of the WHO global movement to improve patient safety launched by WHO in 2005.  Nevertheless, to my knowledge, no meeting in our field has gone the next step and organized a “patient-included” conference, where patients are fully included in the organization, the production of content, sharing the titles, topics, lectures, meet-the-experts, and all other key moments of such an event. I am looking forward to these unique moments that ICPIC 2019 will offer to all of us.”

Taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, September 10-13, ICPIC 2019 is the fourth edition of the International Conference on Prevention and Infection Control. ICPIC brings together 1200 people from over 100 countries, to learn about advancements in infection control. This conference, which takes place every two years, was created a decade ago by Professor Didier Pittet. In addition to his professional responsibilities at the hospital, at WHO and in other public health organizations,  and his work in creating the widely used alcohol-based handrub (!), Professor Pittet has been traveling the world for many years, putting into action multiple methods to encourage proper handwashing by healthcare professionals.  (See the video below presenting the 5-step dance for proper hospital handwashing).

How should patients be invited to medical conferences and under which conditions? Quite often, the relations between conferences and patients is left unclear, and patients can suffer as result. So in the spring of 2015, a group of people, primarily based in Europe, drafted the  “Patients Included™ conference charter.”   Five criteria were adopted for what would be a self-certification, enabling the conference organizer to assure that the event would meet basic patient needs. Doctors 2.0 & You, in its original annual event model, was known for being one of the first in Europe to invite patients as keynote speakers and attendees, and the first  (2015) to fill these requirements.

The “patient-included” self-certification is based on satisfying five criteria. See also

  1. Patients or caregivers with experience relevant to the conference’s central theme actively participate in the design and planning of the event, including the selection of themes, topics and speakers.
  2. Patients or caregivers with experience of the issues addressed by the event participate in its delivery, and appear in its physical audience.
  3. Travel and accommodation expenses for patients or carers participating in the advertised program are paid in full, in advance. Scholarship are provided by the conference organizers to allow patients or carers affected by the relevant issues to attend as delegates.
  4. The disability requirements of participants are accommodated. All applicable sessions, breakouts, ancillary meetings, and other program elements are open to patient delegates.
  5. Access for virtual participants is facilitated, with free streaming video provided online wherever possible.

ICPIC  responded to the self-certification requirements as follows:

  1. Patient speakers and the patient advocacy group at Geneva University Hospitals participated in the design, planning, and revision of the program. They proposed and developed new sessions regarding the patient experience and perspective.
  2. All sessions are open to patients. Disability requirements of participants are accommodated. The venue is fully equipped to accommodate patients with special needs.
  3. Travel and accommodation expenses for participating patients Patients who speak at the conference have their registration, accommodation and travel arranged by ICPIC. Patient attendees pay no registration.
  4. There will be Facebook live streaming of most of the patient-included track, organized by the Geneva University Hospitals.
  5. A track of “patient-included” sessions, running from beginning to end of each day, is underscored in  the scientific program. Some highlights are:
  • September 10: The pre-ICPIC workshop, addressing implementation strategies for infection prevention and control, includes discussions around patient participation in healthcare-associated infection prevention. The opening plenary session  is devoted to “patient-included” facets of infection, prevention, and antimicrobial resistance control. Vanessa Carter will open with “her perception of healthcare-associated infections”
  • September 11: A patient participation platform will be held  from 13h15 to 14h15 entirely designed and lead by patients. This platform is of course open to every registered delegate.
  • September 12:   During “Empowering key stakeholders in infection prevention and control” Vanessa Carter will present “How to empower patients?”
  • September 13:  At 9h00 on  “World Sepsis Day: Worldwide initiatives” A talk will be presented by Francesca Stingele on “Severe infection: the patient perspective”

In addition,

  • Patients are moderating several sessions
  • ICPIC is preparing a video documentary with  patients and professionals on the theme of “patient-includedness” and I will be doing these interviews.

And interestingly physicians who have experienced infections will also testify as patients.

Having led interviews with the infectious disease physician experts last year, to lay the groundwork for the patient-includedness actions, and then helped prepare the next steps, I am very excited to be attending in Geneva and participating in the multi-modal, on-site “patient-includedness” program.  Denise Silber