HACCP and the management of healthcare associated infections: are there lessons to be learnt from other industries?

Int J Health Care Qual Assur Inc Leadersh Health Serv. 2006;19(4-5):351-67. doi: 10.1108/09526860610671409.


Purpose: Hospital cleaning and healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) continue to attract adverse media attention and consumer concern. Parallels exist with similar publicity relating to cleaning and food safety in the food industry almost 13 years earlier. This paper examines some of the management solutions developed in the food industry, and discusses their application to healthcare delivery.

Design/methodology/approach: The food industry is managing food safety by adopting a dual approach based on pre-requisite programmes and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP). How these differ is described and how the approaches and terminology can be adapted for use in healthcare is discussed.

Findings: The food industry is moving towards external certification of safety using national and international standards. The HACCP approach, a management tool and a central requirement of these standards, is evolving and there is interest worldwide from the healthcare community. Its application to the decontamination of endoscopes, using conventional HACCP, is presented, as well as suggestions for a simplified format for managing patient-related procedures. Taking this type of approach to the management of HCAIs could provide greater transparency, reduce infection rates and increase consumer confidence.

Practical implications: Potential problems in adopting HACCP, including cost and human resource, are discussed.

Originality/value: The HACCP method/approach has previously been mentioned in the medical literature but this paper is one of the few to examine, from basic principles, its infection control application within a broader approach to quality assurance.

MeSH terms

  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Food Industry / standards
  • Housekeeping, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Housekeeping, Hospital / standards
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / organization & administration
  • United Kingdom