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Commission for Hospital Hygiene and Infection Prevention (KRINKO)

Members of the Commission for Hospital Hygiene and Infection Prevention (KRINKO). Source: © RKI

The Commission for Hospital Hygiene and Infection Prevention (KRINKO) has the official mandate to develop national recommendations for the prevention of healthcare-associated infections. A precursor of the commission developed a “guideline for the detection, prevention and control of hospital-acquired infections” in the mid-seventies which was constantly complemented and reviewed over the next two decades and finally renamed “Commission for Hospital Hygiene and Infection Control” in 1989. The renaming was supposed to clarify that beside hospitals, the recommendations are applicable to other healthcare facilities as well, particularly emphasizing the prevention of communicable diseases. Since 2001, the commission is legally anchored in §23 of the German Protection against Infection Act.

Thus, the commission’s main function is to compile national recommendations for the prevention of nosocomial infections and structural and organizational measures of hygiene in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Basic aims of the recommendations are the decrease of infection rates and number of outbreaks as well as preventing the spread of multidrug-resistant organisms. In order to fulfil these aims, evidence-based measures are recommended, which are obliged to be based on systematic risk analysis, clinical and epidemiological studies, as well as on results of microbiological and experimental research. They are recommended by mutual consensus and published by the Robert Koch Institute.

The scientific secretariat of the commission is affiliated to the unit for Hospital Hygiene, Infection Prevention and Control at the Robert Koch Institute. Commission members are appointed by the Federal Ministry of Health for a period of three years. The commission is composed of eighteen members, who are experts and specialists in different medical fields and specialties. Representatives of the Federal Ministry of Health, the Chief Federal state authorities and the Robert Koch Institute partake in all meetings as professional consultants.

Independence of members from payers, manufacturers and other important stakeholders is an essential condition. To date, the KRINKO recommendations refer to several aspects of medicine such as prevention of different healthcare-associated infections (HCAI), hygiene management in special fields such as dialysis or endoscopy, reprocessing medical equipment, disinfection and sterilization and surveillance of HCAI. All recommendations and further details concerning the commission are provided on the internet.

Date: 14.06.2016