The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently launched a new infection-control initiative designed not only for infection preventionists, but all health care personnel. The initiative consists of a library of free, downloadable quick observation tools (QUOTs) in the form of ready-to-use assessment cards arranged around common themes, settings, and patient populations, such as hand-hygiene, intensive care units and isolation rooms.

Health care personnel can use a QUOT for quick infection-prevention checks at the patient-care level in a matter of minutes and quickly identify, investigate and remediate deficiencies. Twelve QUOTs have been released so far with nearly 20 more in development.

“The goal of the QUOTs initiative is to empower health care personnel, not just infection preventionists (IPs), to prevent infections in their own patient care areas,” says Ryan Fagan, MD, medical officer at CDC. “These tools are designed to be completed in just a few minutes each with a simple set of observations and should be repeated over time to track improvements.”

The assessments touch on various factors of infection prevention in a given space. For Instance, the vaccine storage assessment is comprised of six questions to ensure certain measures have takent place, such as temperatures set within appropriate ranges, and that safeguards like self-closing hinges and door alarms are in place. The hand-hygiene QUOT asks for verification on cleanliness of sinks; if hand hygiene dispensers are filled, working and accessible; and if any patient care supplies on the counter are sitting within a splash-zone among other variables. The assessment questions for each QUOT are based on published scientific recommendations.

“Using QUOTs allows infection preventionists to reinforce favorable infection-prevention behaviors with health care workers at all levels,” says 2018 APIC President Janet Haas, PhD, RN, CIC, FSHEA, FAPIC. “We are happy to be able to introduce the QUOTs during International Infection Prevention Week — a time when many health care facilities are already showcasing their patient safety efforts. Our goal is to get these tools into the hands of infection preventionists and increase their usage in all types of health care settings throughout the country.”