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Healthcare Experts Call for More Enforcement, Empowerment and Safety by Design
Healthcare experts from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Safe Injection Practices Coalition and other organizations spoke at a teleconference on safe injection practices, urging healthcare professionals to do more in order to protect patients from infection and injury.
Speakers at the teleconference included Joseph Perz, prevention team leader of the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the CDC; Susan Dolan, RN, CIC, hospital epidemiologist at The Children's Hospital in Denver; Sara Hart Weir, MS, of the Safe Injection Practices Coalition; Gina Pugliese, RN, vice president of the Safety Institute at Premier healthcare alliance and Rhonda Soest of Covidien Imaging.
The roundtable discussion emphasized greater enforcement of current safe injection practices (including not re-using single-use syringes or single-dose vials), patient and clinician empowerment, safety-driven product design as well as education.
"Representatives from CMS and The Joint Commission are more carefully reviewing injection practices as part of infection control and basic patient safety inspections, but not all healthcare facilities are subject to that oversight. So it is important we rely on educational outreach," Dr. Perz said.
Three Common Misconceptions
Dr. Perz also commented healthcare professionals, who never have the intention of harming a patient, sometimes hold the following common misconceptions:
1. Contamination of injection devices is limited to the needle. Oftentimes injectable technology encompasses both the needle and syringe. The common perception is that only the needle becomes contaminated when used on patient, but the needle and syringe should be treated as one unit. Removing only the needle is not safe.
2. Presence of IV tubing or a valve can prevent backflow of injections. "Consider everything from the needle to the syringe and medication bag all the way to the patient as single unit," Dr. Perz said.
3. If there is no blood, there is no risk. Healthcare professionals may sometimes believe they are working in a sterile field because they only see clear fluid. However, Dr. Perz said it's important to remember bacteria and other germs are not visible to the naked eye.
Related Articles on Medication Safety:
Medication Safety Self-Assessment to Track, Improve Safety
Children's Hospital in Denver to Implement Bar Coding for Medication Safety
3 Areas of Focus for Safe Drug Management
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