5 Tips for Infection Control and Quality Improvement

At the 19th Annual Surgery Centers Conference in Chicago on October 27, Sandra Jones, MBA, executive vice president, ASD Management, shared five key practices for ASC infection control, quality assessment and performance improvement.
1. Know the regulations governing your center. There are a wide variety of regulations that quality officers must be aware of and ensure their staff follow. Examples include CMS Conditions of Coverage, state licensing regulations for surgery centers, local and state biomedical waste regulations and Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations.

2. Know your options for guidelines. ASCs can select which infection control guidelines — AORN, CDC, APIC, AAMI, etc. — they will adopt. By understanding the various guideline options, ASCs can select to follow the set that is most appropriate for their center. Ms. Jones said she prefers CDC guidelines because they are wide-ranging, free and easily accessed on the Internet.

3. Know manufacturer's guidelines. Since many guidelines call for following manufacturer's guidelines for cleaning, ASC staff must learn the manufacturer's guidelines for the ASC's equipment and put processes in place to ensure they are followed. For example, Ms. Jones shared sample manufacturer's guidelines for an ice machine, which called for daily, weekly and monthly cleaning.

4. Explain the 'why' behind practices. ASCs must educate their staff on regulations and guidelines, but teaching should go beyond 'what' must be done. Instead, leaders should explain why the standard or recommendation exists — how does it improve patient care?

5. Practice, practice, practice. The first step to improving quality and infection control practices is through practice, said. Ms. Jones. "We don't wait until the time the inspector comes in."

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