The AMRSim team developed and trialled a new approach to a training intervention supported by an innovative digital tool intended to raise awareness and perception of risk of infection in the practice environment and to motivate the changes in behaviour needed to reduce such risk.
We produced a proof-of-concept to demonstrate its feasibility. Our digital tool comprises a 3D model of the veterinary practice using a single grey-based monochrome shader which allows users' attention to focus on the relevant visual cues showing the contamination sources and their spread, and IPC measures.
It was found that the monochrome tone of the models enabled a higher contrast difference with the relevant visual cues and therefore enhanced visibility of the visual information in the other layers. Two further layers were added to the model both of which could be switched on and off independently: 1) a 'contamination' layer (red-shaded) showing the potential transfer of microbes during the sequence of procedures in the surgery preparation stage; and 2) an IPC measures layer (green-shaded) which showed the germ-free equipment, sterilised equipment, clothing and drapes typically used in good veterinary practice.
Results from the deployment of our intervention to the target group of vet practice staff (n=51) at trial in July 2019 indicated that they felt significantly (p<=.001) more informed about infection control after attending the workshop. When asked, 92% of participants agreed to change their behaviour and stated an intention to implement an infection control behaviour that aligned with the learning objectives of the workshop by increasing hand hygiene (31.37%), wearing gloves (15.69%), wearing protective clothing (15.69%), reducing necessary touching of animals (11.76%), being more aware of self-touching face, hair and glasses.
Participants found the 3D graphics enhanced the delivery of the workshop content by making difficult and abstract concepts easy to understand and was considered overall a "very good visual representation" of pathogen transfer. Feedback indicated participants found the trial "interesting", "important", "beneficial to practice" and they could see the potential for others to similarly benefit. Indeed, suggestions for improving the intervention recommended making it more widely available, increasing the frequency of workshops and diversifying to include other specific aspects of infection control practice, such as kennel care.