New frontiers in healthcare environmental hygiene: thoughts from the 2022 healthcare cleaning forum

Antimicrob Resist Infect Control. 2023 Feb 7;12(1):7. doi: 10.1186/s13756-022-01185-w.


Healthcare environmental hygiene (HEH) has become recognized as being increasingly important for patient safety and the prevention of healthcare-associated infections. At the 2022 Healthcare Cleaning Forum at Interclean in Amsterdam, the academic lectures focused on a series of main areas of interest. These areas are indicative of some of the main trends and avenues for research in the coming years. Both industry and academia need to take steps to continue the momentum of HEH as we transition out of the acute phase of the Covid-19 pandemic. There is a need for new ways to facilitate collaboration between the academic and private sectors. The Clean Hospitals® network was presented in the context of the need for both cross-disciplinarity and evidence-based interventions in HEH. Governmental bodies have also become more involved in the field, and both the German DIN 13603 standard and the UK NHS Cleaning Standards were analyzed and compared. The challenge of environmental pathogens was explored through the example of how P. aeruginosa persists in the healthcare environment. New innovations in HEH were presented, from digitalization to tracking, and automated disinfection to antimicrobial surfaces. The need for sustainability in HEH was also explored, focusing on the burden of waste, the need for a circular economy, and trends towards increasingly local provision of goods and services. The continued focus on and expansion of these areas of HEH will result in safer patient care and contribute to better health systems.

Keywords: Cleaning; Environmental hygiene; Infection prevention and control; Sustainability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Cross Infection* / prevention & control
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Humans
  • Hygiene
  • Pandemics