Infection Control in ASCs: Best Practices and Current Ideas

At the 9th annual Orthopedic, Spine and Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference in Chicago, Cassandra Speier, senior vice president of operations for NovaMed, shared her expertise on best practices and current trends in effective infection control programs within ambulatory surgery centers.

To be truly effective, an ASC infection control program should be ongoing, involve both employees and medical staff, require diligent reporting, proper action plans and protocols that address all infection control issues, perform ongoing surveillance and appoint a qualified infection preventionist to spearhead these efforts.

Hand hygiene and single-use devices are some of the most important infection control issues affecting ASCs today, partly because accrediting bodies hold healthcare facilities accountable for compliance. In order to ensure high-quality hand hygiene, Ms. Speier suggested teaching employees and medical staff to sing the ABC or Happy Birthday song twice while washing hands. She also suggested developing a log that tracks government-approved single-use devices and recalls.

Sterilization is also a key infection control issue to strictly monitor. Log books that document sterilization and disinfection of medical equipment, instruments and implants should be frequently audited to ensure proper infection control compliance.

One of the best ways to evaluate an ASC's infection control program is to conduct mock surveys using real accrediting surveys and the tracer methodology. However, Ms. Speier emphasized an infection control program cannot maintain long-term success without top-down management and support with the leadership of a strong infection preventionist.

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