6 Best Practices for a Successful Surgery Center Infection Control Program

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The following article is written by Mary Sturm, RN, MBA, senior VP of clinical operations, and Daren Smith, RN, director of clinical services, for Surgical Management Professionals.


Infection control programs and activities are receiving unparralled scrutiny in ambulatory surgery centers. Here are six quick tips to get started or check your current processes.


1. Make sure that you can demonstrate oversight of the program by the governing body. Infection control policies, procedures, activities and results must be communicated to the governing body. Approval of the infection control policies and reports provide evidence that the governing body has the final word.


2. Develop surveillance processes that can be accomplished through rounding. Surveillance of infection control processes does not have to be elaborate. They can be as simple as creating hand hygiene and environmental surveillance tools that can be completed during purposeful rounding. It can provide valuable insight into the reality of what is really occurring in the patient care units of your ASC.


3. Access inexpensive or free educational offerings by APIC and AORN. Many professional organizations provide a multitude of educational offerings in infection control. It is vital and required by CMS that your infection control nurse is well-versed in infection control concepts.


4. Use a spreadsheet to show time dedicated to infection control activities by your infection control nurse as well as staff and management. Surveyors want to know the organization takes infection control seriously and has dedicated adequate time with respect to infection control work.


5. Broker access to infection control experts and other infection control nurses at your local hospital or through your management company. Other infection control personnel can be a powerful resource for your infection control nurse. Take the necessary steps to develop a relationship with them. Your infection control nurse will appreciate contact with others in their same position.


6. Make certain housekeeping personnel are compliant with recommended practices for cleaning. Whether they are a contracted service or in-house employees, it is important that they are cognizant of their role in infection prevention. Check their compliance through purposeful rounding (see tip #2) during and after the terminal cleaning process.


Ms. Sturm is the senior VP of clinical operations and Mr. Smith is the director of clinical services for Surgical Management Professionals, an organization of physicians and healthcare executives who have created a successful model for ASCs and physician-owned surgical hospitals that embrace the concept of physician ownership and clinical leadership.


Read more from SMP:


- 8 Areas to Reinvest in an ASC


- 6 Ways to Cut Surgery Center Staffing Costs


- 5 Achievable Goals for ASCs in 2011 From Michael Lipomi of Surgical Management Professionals

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