5 Practices to Improve Infection Rates and Clinical Quality

At the 10th Annual Orthopedic, Spine and Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference in Chicago on June 16, Sandra Jones, MBA, MS, CASC, FHFMA, CEO and COO of ASD Management, discussed important considerations for lowering infection rates and improving clinical quality at ambulatory surgery centers.

Ms. Jones began the discussion by discussing the need for an ASC's clinical quality practices to be habitual and customary. She said it's also crucial that infection control procedures become a common exercise for staff.

"It's important that staff knows what, when and how to do something," Ms. Jones said.

Here are five practices Ms. Jones suggested to keep ASC infection rates down and clinical quality standards high.

1. Consider safety of patients and staff. When controlling clinical quality outcomes, ASCs should keep both patient and staff safety in mind.

2. Be proactive about G-code reporting. Effective Oct. 2012, ASCs will be required to report five quality measures on Medicare claims forms, part of Medicare's Quality Reporting Program. Ms. Jones said CMS is interested in knowing if ASCs are administering IV antibiotics in a timely fashion.

Regarding quality measures reporting, Ms. Jones suggested ASCs run reports to know the frequency of G-codes used to report the specific care provided and review it against set goals.

"Assessment findings can lead to quality improvement opportunity," Ms. Jones said.

She encouraged ASCs to set up a system to report data and then send it as soon as possible.

3. Understand and improve deficiencies. Ms. Jones also discussed how statements of deficiencies are being posted on state websites, and ASCs need to be aware of this.

4. Review safety guidelines. Whatever standard your ASCs uses — AORN, CDC, WHO, APIC or AAMI — Ms. Jones said it's crucial to review all guidelines and follow recommendations. For example, some of the guidelines differ slightly on issues such as who can handle and launder scrubs and on concerns regarding instrument processing.

Ms. Jones also said ASCs should know the name changes in guidelines. For example, "flash sterilization" is now referred to as "immediate use sterilization".

5. Be compliant. Ms. Jones said ASCs should "know what they do so they can check what they do." She suggested setting up a checklist to document compliance of clinical quality guidelines. She said it's also important to review with staff how to document, maintain manufacturer's instructions for equipment and practice the details.

Ms. Jones concluded the discussion by suggesting free resources to stay up-to-date on quality control and infection prevention, including guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

More Articles Related to Infection Control:

4 Common ASC Infection Control Pitfalls
Achieving Excellence in Infection Control in ASCs
MRSA Cases Nearly Doubled From 2003-2008 at Academic Hospitals

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