Infection Prevention in ASCs: Looking Ahead

At the 18th Annual Ambulatory Surgery Centers Conference in Chicago on Oct. 29, Marilyn Hanchett, RN, senior director of clinical innovation at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, discussed current infection control trends and what to watch for in the future.

Infection control will continue to be a central focus in healthcare as Baby Boomers age, CMS institutes regulations around infection control and the government continues to fund infection prevention initiatives, according to Ms. Hanchett. "The work we've done will be solidified and expanded going forward," she said.

Some of the growing trends Ms. Hanchett identified include the following:

•    Links between organizations. Ms. Hanchett said CMS, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are strengthening their relationships by sharing data. They are trying to align the databases to improve the clarity of infection control data. Currently, the organizations' reports are often at odds due to different definitions of terms and collection methods.
•    Validation of data. "Data [that is reported] will have to be validated," Ms. Hanchett said. "[It] will be a significant change for all of us." She said the CDC is working on developing an electronic system for validating reported data to ensure that the data, which may influence reimbursement, is correct.
•   Checklists. While many ASCs already use checklists to prevent infections, Ms. Hanchett believes the development of checklists and their specificity will grow in the coming year. "It's a trend to watch as [we] move forward," she said.
•    Environment. Ms. Hanchett said there will be an increasing emphasis on the role of the environment in infection control in the future. According to an APIC survey, only 8 percent of respondents reported they were very certain their facilities were being properly cleaned and disinfected to prevent healthcare-associated infections, Ms. Hanchett said.
•    Hand hygiene. Emphasis on hand hygiene will be a continuing trend but will shift its focus from the tools to the behavior, according to Ms. Hanchett. "You can put as many soap dispensers up [as you want], but probably the most critical component is the behavioral aspect," she said. "Peer pressure, modeling by others and authority in staff are key elements to success."

Related Articles on the 18th Annual Ambulatory Surgery Centers Conference:

Effective Clinical Benchmarking and Infection Control
Common Mistakes in ASC Infection Control

How ASCs Can Manage Expenses and Physicians

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